(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Sweet revenge, a romance of the Civil War;"

TiiHllin! 



iiiliiJiiiliiiiiiliiii 




THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill 



http://www.archive.org/details/sweetrevengeromaOOmitc 



SWEET REVENGE 



B IRomance ot tbe Civil TKlar 



F. A. MITCHEL 

CAPTAIN AND AIDE-DE-CAMP ON THE STAFF OF 
MAJOR-GENEUAL O. M. MITCHEL 

AUTHOR OP " CHATTANOOGA " " CHICKAMAUGA " ETC. 




NEW YORK 
HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 

1897 



Copyright, 1897, by Harper & Brothers. 

All riglits reserved. 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

I. Bushwhacked 1 

II. Incognito 13 

III. A Definite Object 21 

IV. Won Over 33 

V. Arrest 44 

VI. An Amatecr Soubrette 59 

VII. IMlDNIGHT 72 

VIII. On THE Plateau 83 

IX. Fiends 93 

X. A Dance for a Life ....;... 102 

XI. Stealing the Guns Ill 

XII. A Daylight Attack 121 

XIII. Beleaguered 131 

XIV. A Bonfire Defence 139 

XV. Woman's Pluck 148 

XVI. A Bugle-call 161 

XVII. Flight ... 175 

XVIII. Retaken 184 

XIX. Buck's Indiscretion 194 

XX. A Masquerade 203 

XXI. A Stern-chase 214 

XXII. Hunting Big Game. ........ 225 

XXIII. The Union Saved 238 



603141 



SWEET REVENGE 



BUSHWHACKED 



" Hands up !" 

Why he shouted the words I don't know; 
for in another moment he gave me one barrel, 
and before I could raise a finger I heard a 
click, admonishing me that I was about to get 
the other. A thin film of smoke floating 
above the fence to the right and two malig- 
nant eyes peering at me from between the 
rails betrayed his position. Like a flash I 
whipped out my revolver, but before I could 
raise it there was another report, and my 
right arm dropped, benumbed by a charge of 
buckshot. Seizing my weapon with my left 
hand, I brought it to a level with the eyes 
behind the fence and fired. There was a sound 



a SWEET REVENGE 

of a body falling, and I knew that I had struck 
home. 

Spurring my horse to the side of the road, I 
craned my neck over the fence, and there in 
the ditch lay the bushwhacker. His hat had 
fallen off, and left bare a head of red, shocky 
hair. In his belt was his revolver, beside him 
a shot-gun. His body, clad in "^ butternut," lay 
on an incline, his feet in the water, which 
flowed lazily past. The sun, shining through 
budding branches, lighted up his face, and I 
knew that I had seen him before; indeed, a 
vivid scene in which he had borne a part came 
up out of the past to fling over me a cloud of 
gloom, like the wing of an Apollyon. 

I drew an involuntary sigh. It was not 
that I had taken a life — lives were cheap 
enough in those days, and he had sought to 
take mine ; it was not my narrow escape from 
death ; but an overpowering consciousness that 
the spirit of war lurked everywhere ; that the 
beautiful face of Nature about me — trees, 
fences, bushes, everything — best served to 
cover assassins. 

" Is he dead ?" 

Startled at the sound of a voice, I glanced 
aside. There, leaning against the fence, her 



iMOt 



BUSHWHACKED 3 

arras resting on the top rail, gazing at the 
disao'reeable sis-ht on which I had been in- 
tent, stood a young girl. 

"Where did you come from?" I asked, lift- 
ing my hat with my left hand. 

" There." She turned her head and glanced 
at a house on the other side of the road. 

" You must have stepped lightly ; I didn't 
hear you coming." 

Without reply she continued gazing at the 
body of the bushwhacker. I too looked again at 
the upturned face, with its glassy, staring eyes. 

" Why did you kill him f 

" I will tell you." 

But I did not tell her then, for as I spoke I 
felt something warm trickling over the baqk 
of ray hand, and, looking down, saw blood drip- 
ping upon her dress. 

" Corae into the house, quick j that's arterial 
blood." 

Seizing the reins, she led ray horse, I follow- 
ing, to a side gate. This she opened, and we 
went up to the veranda. Catching sight of a 
colored bov, she called to him : 

"Mount, 5'?^iWi;/y, and ride for the doctor! 
Tell him a man has been shot, an artery cut, 
and a life is in danirer." 



4 SWEET REVENGE 

I had a dim image of the boy tearing down 
the road, and, tottering into the house, I sat 
down on a sofa in the library. I must have 
fainted, for suddenly, without being conscious 
of their coming, I found myself in the midst of 
an excited throng. An old lady stood beside 
me with a basin, from which she was sprinkling 
my face. A white-haired old gentleman with 
pink cheeks, a towel in one hand, a decanter in 
the other, was bending over me. A boy of 
twelve with a toy gun was staring at me, 
while the girl who had brought me there 
looked on with far more interest than I had 
yet seen in her impassive face. Beyond all 
was a dark background of house servants. 
My coat had been removed, and a negro had a 
tight grip on a bit of wood twisted in a hand- 
kerchief tied around my arm just above the 
wound. A long, thin man in a rusty suit of 
black came hurrying in with a leather case in 
his hand, and, whipping out his instruments, 
began the work of picking up a partly severed 
artery. He first took out a piece of my coat- 
sleeve, which had retarded the hemorrhage and 
doubtless saved my life, tiien a half-dozen shot, 
did some stitching, then carefully bandaged 
the wound. 



BUSHWHACKED 5 

" There," he said, " if you move that arm 
within forty-eight hours j^ou'll be in danger of 
3'^our life ; keep quiet, and you'll come out all 
right." 

" I must go on at once, doctor." 

" You'll go part way as a corpse if you do." 

The old lady declared that I should not stir 
out of the house till the doctor gave the word ; 
the old gentleman bade me welcome as long- 
as I needed to stay ; the young lady who had 
brought me there said nothing; while the boy 
looked as if to lose a subject so fruitful of in- 
terest would break his heart. 

" I'll send a young associate of mine," said 
the doctor. " If tlie wound opens 3'^ou must 
have attention at once." 

" Thank you, doctor. There seems to be a 
great deal of commotion about a very small 
matter. I don't care to put so many people 
to so much trouble." 

No one paid any attention to my protest, all 
busying themselves to make me comfortable. 
Pillows were laid beneath my head, a silk 
quilt was thrown over me, a stand with a 
silver bell on it was placed beside me that I 
might ring for anything I wanted. All be- 
ing satisfactorily arranged, the doctor ordered 



b . SWKET REVENGE 

everybody out of the room, and then departed 
himself. 

What a singular transition ! Half an hour 
before I had left Iluntsville — beautiful Hunts- 
ville, nestling among the hills that slope away 
from the Cumberland plateau — and was work- 
ing ray way northward, towards Fa3'etteville, 
Tennessee. The plants in the yards beside the 
road were putting forth their buds, the leaves 
on the trees were opening, insects were awaken- 
ing, birds singing — all revived by the rays of 
the vernal sun. 

I permitted my horse to drop into a walk, 
A pleasant languor stole over me, replacing a 
bitter mental turbulence which had been ever 
present with me for months. Perhaps it was 
the genial warmth, the balmy air ; perhaps an 
absence of war scenes with which I had Ions: 
been familiar; perhaps both. At any rate, 
I watched the sun glisten on the dew-drops, 
felt its rays warm my shoulders, and listened 
to the singing of the birds with a consciousness 
that, after all, sometimes it is pleasant to live. 

Then came an unaccountable sinking. It 
may have been something in the restfulness, 
the security I had felt, incongruous with pesti- 
lent war; just as amid the luxurious foliage of 



BUSHWHACKED 7 

the tropics one feels that behind every leaf and 
flower lurks invisible fever. Suddenly the 
shots rang out ; then came my reply to the 
girl standing beside me looking at the dead 
bushwhacker ; then my entry into the house ; 
and now I was lying on a comfortable lounge, 
an object of tender solicitude on the part of 
people who, from being strangers, had sud- 
denly become very dear friends. 

But suppose they knew me — that I was a 
renegade, a traitor to the South. There was 
no name harsh enough among Confederates 
for those of their own people who were not 
"with them, and all who were not with them 
were against them ; and doubtless these new- 
found friends were all Confederate sympa- 
thizers. The bushwhacker could tell no tales ; 
I was thankful for that, for he had known me 
"well. The thought of him took me back to 
that night of horrors. I was again at the 
head of those Tennessee Unionists, endeavor- 
ing to lead them to a haven of safety. We 
were near the Cumberland Gap ; one more 
day and we should be at Camp Dick Robin- 
son, where "we should find Federal troops. 
Then the attack. By the flashing of guns I 
could see their faces, and here and there recog- 



8 SWEET REVENGE 

nize a neighbor — men beside whom I had lived 
for years, and whom civil war had converted 
into fiends. One by one I saw my friends 
shot down. There was one dearer to me than 
all besides. Through the darkness, guided by 
the flashes and the sound of my voice, sh^ 
darted to me, and found refuge in my arms. 

Then that sudden dash of Confederate cav- 
alry, I felt the figure I held quiver and slip 
through my arms. I moaned, and kissed the 
white lips. Then like lightning the wild beast 
jumped within me. I looked up to see who 
had done this last, this crowning atrocity. A 
Confederate officer sat on his horse staring at 
me, in his hand a smoking pistol. A sudden 
collapse, and I knew that I was hit. This is 
all I remembered of the massacre. 

Plow I gloated in my revenge! The homes 
of men who had committed those murders 
were burning, and I had applied the torch. 
Their barns, grain — everything they possessed 
passed away in black spark-spangled clouds, 
which shot upward as if to carry vengeance 
to the very heavens. These men had made 
my life a waste — I had made theirs a hell. 

There was one I had not yet punished, one 
whose punishment I longed for more than all 



BUSHWHACKED 9 

the rest — the Confederate officer with the smok- 
ing pistoL I sought for him without success. 
Then I tried to forget him ; but whenever I re- 
membered that beloved figure fleeing to me for 
protection, that tremor, that sinking away be- 
fore the blight of death, I would start again 
on my long hunt. I joined the army, thinking 
that war's greater horrors might for a time 
enable me to forget my feud. All went well 
till I heard of him. He was at Hunts ville. I 
burned to reach him. Our general was cast- 
ing covetous eyes on Northern Alabama. I 
beo-wd him to let me fi,o down and brino- back 
a report of the country — the railroads, its roll- 
ing-stock, machine-shops, bridges, everything 
— a knowledge of which would assist in its 
capture. 

But this low cur who had tried to kill me. 
He w\as at the massacre. With my own hand 
I had applied fire to his miserable hut. How 
had he known that I was in Alabama ? Had 
he heard of me during my stay at Huntsville ? 
It had been brief, for as soon as I reached the 
town I learned that my enem}' was not there, 
and, disappointed, turned my face northward. 
Or had the bushwhacker met me by chance? 
I did not know ; I do not know now. Of one 



10 SWEET KEVENGE 

thing I was certain : be was one of my old 
enemies, and they would hunt me like a hare. 

I lay for hours unwillingly turning over 
these war horrors as if they were a wheel on 
which I was obliged to tread. No one came 
into the room and I called no one. Doubtless 
they wished me to be quiet. I was weak and 
tired — tired in mind, tired in body, tired of ex- 
istence. If I could only find him the world 
might vanish for all me. 

I fell into a troubled slumber, and when I 
awoke I saw standing in the doorway a girl 
of eight or nine years — a frail, blue-eyed little 
thing, with her hair cut square about her neck 
and held by a semicircular comb. She was 
gazing at me intently, as children in fairy tales 
stand on tiptoe and look at the sleeping ogre 
who is intending to eat them for supper. 

"Come in," I said, encouragingly. 

She shrank back. But though she seemed 
to dread me, she could not keep away from 
me. Without for a moment taking her eyes 
off me she began to approach by slow, very 
slow, steps. I felt as if I were a snake charm- 
ing a bird. 

" Don't be afraid of me," I said ; " I won't 
hurt you." 



BUSHWHACKED 11 

"You killed him.'' She pointed like an ac- 
cusing angel to the opposite side of the road, 
where I had left the body of my would - be 
assassin. Her voice was soft, but her e3^es 
were big with the enormity of my act. 

" Sweetheart, don't look at me that way ; 
come and kiss me." 

I reached out for her hand. She shrank 
away, but I gently pulled her to me Avith my 
well arm, drew her down, and kissed her. As 
I touched her pure young lips with mine the 
crimes of which I had been thinkinir — vivid 
as the day they were committed — seemed to 
move far from me, like a retreating storm 
muttering in the distance. And somehow, 
with this bit of innocence in my arm, my 
beard brushing her cheek, looking into her 
mild eyes, it seemed as if there had come a 
patch of blue sky ; and I wished — yes, strange- 
ly^ enough, I wished — that it had not been nec- 
essary for me to shoot a man that morning. 



II 

INCOGNITO 

These kind people with whom I was lodged 
persisted in considering me always in danger. 
A doctor must needs be at all times within 
reach. A stripling of a medical graduate 
must sleep in the same room with me. The 
old gentleman was constantly coming into 
the room to ask if I wanted anything, while 
his wife was as tender and motherly as if I 
had been her own son. Even the servants 
vied with each other in waiting on me, and 
when anything was ordered for me, with haste 
unusual to the negro, scrambled to see which 
one would bring it. Onl}'- the girl who had 
brought me there came and went as though 
I was an ordinary person with an ordinary 
wound, to be treated in an ordinary manner. 

All this attention and sympathy vexed me 
beyond measure. What right had I to accept 
it — I, a Tennesseean, in arms against the 



INCOGNITO 13 

South, in search of a Confederate enemy ? 
Yes, and more. Was I not the bearer of in- 
formation that would enable the hated Yan- 
kee to swoop down on this fair region and re- 
claim it for the Union ? The least suspicion 
of ray true character would turn the devotion 
lavished upon me to contempt. My very life 
would be in danger. Pooh ! what cared I for 
my life, except that I dreaded to go to ray 
long home detested b}^ those who had suc- 
cored me. Besides, the information I pos- 
sessed — information of vital importance to the 
Union cause — must be carried northward. 

A crisis carae soon enough. It was evening, 
and I was reclining on ray sofa looking out 
upon the beautiful hills lying to the eastward. 
The girl with the cool head and impassive 
face was standing by a table rearranging 
books and bottles and what not which had 
been in use during the day. Suddenly the 
door opened and ray host entered. I saw at 
once by his expression that something had oc- 
curred to put him on his guard ; or perhaps 
he had been thinking, wondering what kind of 
person he was harboring. At any rate, he 
came up, and, drawing a chair beside rae, began 
to talk. It was plain that he wished to ask 



14 SWEET REVENGE 

me questions, but lie was too kind, too gener- 
ous to one in ray condition, too hospitable, to 
ask them directly. 

" The doctor tells me, Mr. — " he began. 
" Upon my word, you have been with us three 
days, sir, and we don't know even your name." 

" Branderstane, John Branderstane. I am 
equally ignorant to whom I am indebted for 
all this attention." 

" Our name is Stanforth, sir. This is my 
daughter Helen, Mr. Branderstane." 

Helen inclined her head sliglitly, and I raised 
mine far enough from the pillows to do the 
same. 

'•Mr. Stanforth," I said — there was grati- 
tude both in my voice and in my eyes—" who- 
ever bears your name may hereafter call upon 
me for any service. You have placed me un- 
der an obligation which — " 

" Tut, tut ! You know our Southern cus- 
toms — we are nothing if not hospitable. You 
are a Southern man, of course?" 

" Of course." I spoke the words hesitat- 
ingly. 

" Your state ?" 

" Tennessee." 

" East, middle, or west ?" 



INCOGNITO 15 

" East." 

Mr. Stanforth paused. There was no in- 
formation as to my sentiments in the fact that 
I hailed from East Tennessee. More than 
two-thirds of the people of that section were 
with the Union. 

" May I ask, sir," said m}'^ host, with an ev- 
ident intention of ending all doubt in regard 
to the side with which I affiliated, " are you 
a Union or a Confederate sympathizer?" 

I was about to declare myself an ardent 
supporter of the Confederacy when ray little 
friend Ethel, who had visited me on the day I 
was shot, appeared in the doorway, her blue 
eyes looking straight into mine. Had my in- 
tended falsehood been rammed back into my 
throat with the butt of a revolver it could not 
have been more effectually stopped. Then 
something impelled me to turn my glance to 
Helen. She was about to pour a liquid from 
a phial into a glass, and had paused, her eyes 
fixed on me intently. 

" Mr. Stanforth," I said, " you and your fam- 
ily have been too kind for me to deceive you. 
I Avill not do that, but it would not serve my 
purpose to declare myself." 

" You are an honorable man, sir, whoever 



16 SWEET EEVENGE 

and whatever you are !" exclaimed Mr. Stan- 
forth, warmly. " It ma}"^ be sometimes neces- 
sary to withhold confidence ; but never to lie, 
sir. Keep your secret, I shall not trouble you 
for it. I am merely a citizen, and take no part 
in the national dispute." 

" But I do, papa." 

I looked at Helen. She was regarding me 
earnestly. " If this gentleman is with us," 
she said — " us of the South — he need not fear to 
declare himself. If he is with the Yankees — " 

" Helen !" 

There was an uncomfortable silence, dur- 
ino^ which Mr. Stanforth reo:arded his daughter 
sternly. 

" If there is one right in the South," he said, 
" sacred above all others, it is the right of hos- 
pitality. Mr. Branderstane cannot be forced 
to divulge his opinions." 

" But has he a right to conceal them, papa ?" 

" While our guest, he has." 

" Mr. Stanforth," I said, " j^our daughter is 
riirht. l^o man should remain under the roof 
of one who has succored him without reveal- 
ing his identity when it is called for. May I 
ask you to order my horse ?" 

I started up. I Avas too preoccupied to 



INCOGNITO 17 

notice the stand beside me covered with books, 
with which I had vainly tried to alleviate ray 
confinement, and struck my arm at the very 
spot where I had been wounded. 

A shiver passed over the father, the daughter 
gave an involuntary start. My coat, which 
had been thrown loosely over my shoulder, 
had become disarranged, exposing the arm, 
upon which every eye was turned. Both Mr. 
Stanforth and Helen bent forward intently. 
"We were congratulating ourselves that no 
damage had been done when on the white 
shirt-sleeve appeared a spot of bright red blood. 

" Jackson ! — run ! — the doctor ! — quick ! 
Tell him the wound has opened." 

I sank back on the sofa ; Mr. Stanforth be- 
gan running about wildl}'- ; Mrs. Stanforth en- 
tered in wonder ; the servants flocked in with 
open eyes and mouths. 

" Papa, your handkerchief." 

Helen Stanforth spoke the words as coolly 
as if she had been an experienced surgeon. 
"With her father's handkerchief she impro- 
vised a tourniquet, and the bleeding stopped 
at once. 

" Now see here," said the doctor, when he 
had arrived and repaired the damage, "j^ou've 



18 SWEET REVENGE 

had a close call, sir. Perhaps you'll pay some 
attention hereafter to what I tell you, sir." 

" Next time, doctor," I said, feebly, " let me 
go. My life is of little moment to me." 

As I spoke, Helen, who had gone out of the 
room for something, returned. 

" Ah, Miss Stanforth," said the doctor, " I 
will leave the patient in your care. You seem 
to be always on hand when he needs you, and 
to know exactly what to do. Let the others 
keep away." 

" I will relieve you, doctor," she said, quietly. 

The doctor gathered up his belongings and 
left the room, leaving Helen standing looking 
at me with a certain curious earnestness that I 
could not interpret. As she had been the in- 
direct cause of my mishap I naturally expected 
she would refer to it, perhaps express some re- 
o^ret. She was thinkins: of an entirely differ- 
ent matter. 

" Why is your life of little moment to you?" 
she asked. 

" You overheard ?" 

" Yes." 

" You have a right to require me to disclose 
my affiliations in the great struggle in which 
we are involved, but my private griefs — " 



INCOGNITO 19 

" I ask your pardon.'' There was no regret 
expressed ; it was simply a well-bred way of 
noticing that she had failed to elicit the infor- 
mation she desired. 

" I should have got on well enough," I con- 
tinued, " if that confounded stand had not been 
in the way. I believe I could go now just as 
well as not." I paused ; I was very weak. 
"May I ask you to hand me that glass 'f I 
added, looking at a tumbler containing brandy. 

Without noticing the proof of my inability 
to do as I asserted, she handed me the glass, 
and, when I had taken a swallow, put it back 
on the table. Her coolness was beffinning to 
irritate me. 

" I have a mind to get up and go on," I said. 
" I don't believe there is any danger." 

" What did the doctor say ?" 

" He told me to keep quiet, as I valued my 
life." 

" You don't value your life, therefore you 
will get up and go on — in other words, com- 
mit suicide." 

" You know veiy well that it galls me to 
be obliged to impose upon a family that has 
loaded me with kindness without declaring 
my identity." 



20 SWEET KEVENGE 

" Then why not declare it ?" 

" Because it doesn't suit my plans to do so." 

I w^as acting ungraciously, recklessly, and 
I knew it ; but I was in no condition to fence 
with this cool creature. 

" Shall I leave you ?"' she asked, without 
appearing at all offended. 

" I don't need your attention." 

" You need some one's attention. I will 
have Jackson sit in the hall, where he can 
hear you if you ring." And she walked out 
of the room. 



Ill 

A DEFINITE OBJECT 

"Will this unluck}^ wound never heal? 
Time flies, and I, who should be up and doing, 
am caged like a tiger walking back and forth 
within the limits of its enclosure." 

This was my complaint as I paced my room 
one morning shortly after the accidental re- 
opening of my wound. My impatience Avas 
not without cause. I had gone South, as I 
have said, with two objects : to find my ene- 
my and to gather information. I had failed 
in finding my enemy, but had gained a com- 
plete knowledge of the points essential to the 
capture of North Alabama, and was carrying 
it to the general on the day I was shot. It 
had occurred to me before setting out that, 
after finishing my military mission, I might 
still wish to continue my search for my en- 
emy. Besides, there were other contingencies, 
such as arrest or illness, which needed to be 



22 SWEET REVENGE 

provided for. I had, therefore, arranged that 
the general's favorite scout should be at Hunts- 
ville on the morning of the 1st of April to re- 
ceive any communication I might find it nec- 
essary to transmit. If I were prevented from 
meeting him I was to send a messenger, and 
had devised a code of signals by which he 
might be recognized. The appointed day was 
drawing near; I was not able to keep my ap- 
pointment, and there was no one at hand to 
whom I could intrust the message. 

I chafed till I had exhausted my small store 
of strength, then threw myself on my couch. 
Little Ethel came in, and, like a soft ray 
of sunlight breakinrr throiiirh storm-clouds, 
turned my thoughts into gentler channels. 
She held in her hand a bouquet of flowers 
which it was easy to see she intended for me, 
but needed encouragement to offer. I final- 
ly induced her to do so, and to admit that 
she had been out a long while looking for 
them for me especially. I tried to unloosen 
her tongue, to induce her to confide in me, 
but in spite of all I could do she remained 
shy, and there was ever present that awe she 
had shown before of one who had taken a 
life. 



A DEFINITE OBJECT 23 

" Why do 3^ou look at me in that way ?" I 
asked. 

She made no reply, casting down her eyes 
at my brown hand, which held her dimpled 
fingers. 

" You mustn't dread me because I am 
obliged to fight,'' I continued. " These are 
war times ; there are a great many soldiers 
in the land who think nothino: of killins: one 
another." 

"Don't they?" She raised her eyes wide 
open with surprise. 

" Of course war is cruel, but — but it calls 
out much that is noble." 

" \Yhen they kill each other ?" 

What puzzling questions to come from such 
untutored lips. I was casting about for some 
explanatory reply when a sudden interruption 
reliev^ed my embarrassment. A negro boy 
dashed into the room, through it, and out of 
another door. He Avas followed by the white 
boy I had noticed on the day of my arrival, 
who was screaming : 

" Doggone yo', Zac, I'll break eveiy bone 
in yo' consarned black body !" 

The words were scarcely out when he shot 
through the door by which the fugitive had 



24 SWEET REVENGE 

vanished. Little Ethel looked after him with 
frightened eyes, evidently dreading a catas- 
trophe. 

" Who's that ?" I asked. 

" Buck." 

" Your brother ?'' 

" Yes." 

" Don't be alarmed. That's only a boy's 
passion ; it won't amount to anything." 

" He says such dreadful words." 

" That's habit ; he doesn't mean anything 
by it ; but it's a habit that should be broken." 

I soon got her quieted, and she prattled 
about her dolls, her play-houses, some pet 
rabbits, and a nook in the garden where she 
kept them. How singular that war, which 
absorbed all about her, should have no place 
in her mind. Amid all the turmoil, the rum- 
bling of cannon, the tramp of men and horses, 
bushwhacking, skirmishing, battles, this inno- 
cent little maid Avas strangely out of place. 
Her mother came in presently and took her 
away, fearing that she would anno}'^ me. I 
was loath to part with her. No healing balm 
had been applied to my wound so soothing, 
so grateful, as was her prattle to my fevered 
brain and chilled heart. 



A DEFINITE OBJECT 25 

They had scarcely left me when Buck 
stalked into the room, his boyish face as free 
from passion as if he had never been ruffled. 
He had made several attempts to visit me, 
notwithstanding that he had been forbidden 
the room. Seeing the coast clear, he slipped 
in unannounced and began a fire of questions. 

"Does it hurt?" 

" My arm ? Yes, it hurts some." 

"I'm glad yo' plunked him." 

"Why do you s^niipathize with me instead 
of the other? You have only seen me a few 
times." 

This was too much for him to explain. I 
could see that he had conceived an admiration 
for me, but he could not tell why. 

"What did he try to kill you fo' ?" he asked. 

" Well, perhaps it was because my existence 
annoyed him." 

" What did you want to kill him fo' ?" 

" I found it inconvenient to have him shoot- 
ing at me." 

"/'r/ like to shoot a man. I shot a rabbit 
once, but that's purty small game. Pop, he 
won't let me have a gun yet. He says I may 
have one when I'm sixteen." 

" Buck !" called a voice from the haU. The 



36 SWEET REVENGE 

boy dropped behind a sofa. An old negro 
woman entered and looked around. 

"Yo', Buck! yo' hidin' somewhar' ! Yo' 
maw '11 spank yo' sho' ef she cotch y' hyar 
troublin' the gemmlen. Come out o' dar ; I 
knows whar y' air !" 

I was about to interfere; but a natural dis- 
taste at giving away a fellow-creature caused 
me to desist. 

"I tho't I hearn dat chile talken'." The 
woman stood still a moment, but, hearing no 
sound, lumbered out of the room. The boy 
popped up from behind his hiding-place as 
soon as she had gone. 

" I like yoi^," were the first words he ut- 
tered. '•'■You wouldn't tell on a feller, would 
you ?" 

"How could I when you are glad I 'plunked' 
my enemy ? Is that your mamm}'- ?" 

" Yes ; that's Lib." 

" jS'ursed you from a baby ?" 

" Yes ; 'n' she reckons she's goen to nurse 
me all my life." 

" Is your name Buckingham ?" 

" Buckingham ! No, I 'aint' got any such 
doggone name as that ; my name's Buckeye." 

" How did 3^ou happen to get that name ?" 



A DEFINITE OBJECT 27 

" 'Cause I was borned thar." 

" Where ?" 

" In Buckeye." 

"In Ohio?" 

" Reckon 'tis the same." 

I contemplated Buck for a while without 
hearing any of the questions he continued to 
fire at me. Why not intrust him with the 
message? There was every reason why I 
should not do so, except that he was devoted 
to me and I had no one else to send. While 
I was deliberating Lib came in, surprised him, 
dragged him out of the room, and shut the 
door. 

I heard footsteps on the veranda, then in 
the hall, then ascending the staircase, as of 
people carrying a burden. The door had evi- 
dently been shut to prevent my seeing what 
was being done. For a while there was a hur- 
rving to and fro, and I knew that something 
unusual had occurred. After all had been 
quieted, Buck, who had meanwhile escaped 
from his dusky captor, slipped back to forbid- 
den ground. 

It occurred to me that I could draw from 
Buck the solution of the recent commotion ; 
but what passed under the roof of my friends 



38 SWEET REVENGE 

was no concern of mine, and I scorned to get 
it from a mere boy. But I wished to test 
Buck's power of reticence. Ten to one he had 
been instructed not to talk to me about the 
mysterious occurrence. 

" Buck," I asked, " who came to the house 
awhile ago V 

"Wasn't anybody came to the house awhile 
ago." 

"A sick man, wasn't it?" 

" No, he wasn't sick." 

"I thought 3'ou said no one came?" 

" No one did." 

" Of course no one came ; he was carried." 

" If yo' know so much about 't, Mr. Brandy- 
stone, what's the use o' asken' me ?" 

" You admit that whoever he was, he wasn't 
sick?" 

" Of course he wasu't sick. How could he 
be sick if he wasn't anybody ?" 

There was a sudden rustling in the hall, and 
Helen swept into the room, her eyes flashing 
fire. 

"Buck, leave the room!" she commanded, in 
no uncertain tone. Buck gave a glance at his 
sister, which told him he had better obey, and 
walked out reluctantly. 



A DEFINITE OBJECT 29 

" You have been listening," I said, curtly. 

" I have not. I was coming through the 
hall and heard your last remark." 

" And you infer that I was trying to get a 
secret which does not at all concern me?" 

" I most assuredly do." 

"You are mistaken. I care no more for 
what occurs in this house than for the color of 
the dress you happen to wear. I had another 
object in questioning your brother." 

" I dare say you had." 

" I wished to discover if he could keep a 
secret." 

" I dare say you did." 

" I have intended nothing dishonorable." 

" Fudge !" She snapped her fingers and her 
eyes at the same time. 

" You don't believe me. Very well ; I don't 
believe that you were not eavesdropping." 

" I was not eavesdropping !" she cried, hotly. 
" You have the word of a Southern lady." 

" And I was not trying to get your secret. 
You have the word of a — " I stopped short. 
I had run against a snag. She gave me a 
glance of contempt and triumph. Her head 
was up, a little to one side, her nostrils di- 
lated, her breath slow and measured. 



30 SWEET REVENGE 

"Miss Stanforth," I said — I was near be- 
traying what demanded secrecy — '.' I will prove 
to you before night — no, not before night, but 
soon — that I had another object. I will no 
longer remain in a house the inmates of 
which—" I made a step towards the door. 

" Mr. Branderstane !" 

"Miss Stanforth!" 

" In addition to sailing under false colors, you 
are now going to endanger your life by — " 

" Fudge ! What is my life to you ?" I 
snapped my fingers. 

" A good deal just now. It is unpleasant 
to have a person die on one's hands." 

I was in no condition for this encounter. A 
buzzing was going on in my ears, a tingling 
sensation in my limbs. My knees were giv^- 
ing way, and I was obliged to sit down on the 
sofa. I looked longingly at a bottle of brandy 
that stood on the table, but was too proud to 
ask for it. In a moment Helen had poured 
some of the liquor into a tumbler and held it 
to my lips. I drank a reviving draught ; she 
put her hands on my shoulders and gently 
forced me to lie down. 

" This must not occur again," she said. 
" You have no strength to go, and I have no 



A DEFINITE OBJECT 31 

right to excite you while in your present con- 
dition. I believe what you told me." She 
put out her hand. 

" Pardon," I said, humbly. " When calm 
I would as soon think of accusing you of 
eavesdropping as I would accuse Diana of un- 
chastity. I have been ungallant, rude — rude 
to a woman." 

" Forget it. Lie still, and you will soon be 
yourself again." She sat down by a table 
and took up a book. " I will sit here and 
read while you recover your strength." 

She read for perhaps half an hour. I sup- 
posed she was interested in the book, for she 
turned one page after another and seemed to 
have forgotten me. At last she put down the 
volume, and by her first words convinced me 
that instead of being interested in it she had 
been thinking of my puzzling identity. 

" I want to ask you one question." 

'^ Ask it." 

" Where did you come from the day the 
shooting occurred ?" 

" Huntsville." 

She had asked the one question and had re- 
ceived her reply. I knew by her expression 
that she wanted to ask another. 



32 SWEET KEVENGE 

" I suppose you were there long enough to 
become acquainted with the city. It's a 
beautiful place." 

" I was there a week." 

The limit of one question having been over- 
stepped in this indirect fashion, it was easier 
for her to proceed. 

"What were you doing there?" 

" Looking for some one." 

" A man ?" 

" Yes." 

" What for ?" 

I did not reply at once. I was thinking of 
some plan by which to put an end to her cate- 
chising. 

" If I tell you," I said, presently, " will you 
promise to ask me no more questions ?" 

" If you prefer that I should not." 

" You wish to know why I was seeking my 
man at Huntsville ?" 

" I do." 

" You will keep what I tell you a secret ?" 

" Yes." 

" To kill him." 



rv 

WON OVER 

Little Buck had stood my test as to his 
reticence so well, and I was at such desperate 
straits for a messenger, that I resolved to use 
him. After breakfast I waited for a while, hop- 
ing that he would come to ray room; but as 
he did not, and I feared he was deterred by 
the autocratic Lib, I called Jackson and told 
him to tell the bo}^ I wished to see him. I 
took a Confederate bill from ray pocket and 
handed it to the darky, but he went off 
grumblinof " that he didn't want no Yankee 
money, and mas'r wouldn't hab no niggar o' 
his'n taken' money from a stranger nohow." 
He sent Buck to me, w^ho came in looking 
somewhat astonished that I should take suflB.- 
cient interest in him to call for him. 

" Buck," I said, " I have something impor- 
tant to say to you." 

"What is it, Mr. Brandystone ?" 



34 SWEET KEVENGE 

" Branderstane. Please don't make that 
mistake again." 

" I won't, sho." 

" Back, I'm thinking of sending you on an 
errand ; but it's a great secret." 

The boy's eyes grew as big as saucers. I 
looked at him for a few moments to observe 
the effect of my announcement, and then went 
on. 

." If you should tell an}^ one, it might cost me 
my life. You wouldn't tell, w^ould 3^ou ?" 

" Tell ! Why, sooner 'n tell I'd— I'd— ruther 
be a — a — a — dead rat out in the back yard." 

'• I believe I'll trust you. Do you know the 
road to Iluntsville?" 

"I reckon so; I've been over it more 'n a 
hundred times." 

" Got a pony ?" 

" Yes ; ' Pete.' Hel'n, she drives him in the 
buggy. She calls him hern, but he isn't, he's 
mine. I g-ot a bio; dog, too." 

" Never mind the dog. Could you get out 
your pony and ride into Iluntsville without 
any one suspecting you were going on my ac- 
count ?" 

" Well, now, why don' y' give me somet'n 
hard ?" 



WON OVER 35 

" Go and get me a newspaper or an alma- 
nac." 

He was out of the room and back in a mo- 
ment with a Huntsville paper of that morn- 
ing's issue. I scanned its columns before look- 
ing at the date, and noticed this item: 

"The main body of the Yankees are marching from 
Nashville to Columbia en route, it is supposed, to Pitts- 
burgh Landing, where they will doubtless join the Fed- 
eral General Grant." 

Looking at the heading, I sa\A^ that the date 
was the 1st of April. 

"Now, Buck,'' I said, "get out your pony; 
then come to me for instructions." 

" Look a-hyar, Mr. Brandy— Brandj'stone — " 

" Branderstane.'' 

"Well, Mr. Brandinstane, if you got any 
'structions I reckon yo' better give 'm to me 
now. Mebbe if I come back hyar that dog- 
gone ole Lib '11 come in 'n yank me out." 

" You're right. Reach me that sheet of 
note-paper and a book to write on — that thin 
one ; now a pencil. All right. Don't say a 
word till I have finished." 

I wrote a message in as infinitesimal char- 
acters as I was able, on a third of a sheet of 
paper : 



36 SWEET REVENGE 

" Macliiiie-shops at Iluntsville in good order. Fifteen 
to twenty locomotives. Nearly a hundred cars. No force 
in the town. To tiie east, road runs parallel witli and 
near the pike for several miles and is handy to cut. To 
the west, parly to cut the road must pass round the city 
on the north. Eueiny gathering all possible forces at 
Piltsburgli Landing, but several thousand men at Chat- 
tanooga." 

I put neither address nor signature to it, as 
none were necessary, and they would be con- 
clusive evidence against me if the message 
should fall into the wrong hands. 

" Buck," I said, " mount your pony and ride 
to Huntsville. A few minutes before twelve 
o'clock go into the Huntsville Hotel; you 
know — the big brick house on the square. Go 
up-stairs and out on the front gallery. At 
twelve o'clock a man with black eyes, long 
hair, and a pointed beard will walk out on the 
gallery. Don't say anything to him ; wait, 
and after a while he'll say something to you." 

" Will he V asked the boy, his eyes full of 
wonder. " What '11 he say ?" , 

" He'll say, ' It's a fine day.' " 

" What ! If it's rainen' ?" 

" Yes ; rain or shine, if he's the man 3'ou 
want, he'll say, ' It's a fine day.' Then you 
must sa}'^, 'Reckon you're weather-wise, 



"WON OVER 37 

stranger.' To that he'll reply by asking you 
what kind of weather it was the day of the 
massacre." 

" What massacre ? What's a massacre ?" 

" Never mind that. Stick to the lesson I'm 
teaching you. You must say, ' Black as night.' 
Then he'll say, ' What's the word V and you 
can hand him this note. Now, suppose I'm 
the man with the pointed beard and you go 
throuo;h the dialofi^ue with me." 

I put him through his lesson till he had 
learned it perfectly ; then I sent him away 
with the injunction that in case anything 
should go wrong with him, rather than part 
Avith the paper he was to swallow it. I rolled 
it into a ball and put it into the lining of his 
hat. Giving his little hand a squeeze, I bade 
him go, and he marched out as proudly as if 
he had been appointed Military Governor of 
Alabama. I had no doubt he would execute 
his mission to the best of his ability, but he 
was very young, and I feared he would make 
some blunder. 

" What a fool I am !" I exclaimed, as soon 
as he was gone. " I should have failed to 
communicate rather than intrust so impor- 
tant a matter to a boy. However, I'll leave 



38 SWEET REVENGE 

here to-morrow morning, and if my message 
miscarries, by the time it's discovered I'll be 
somewhere 'else." 

Helen came in soon after Buck's departure 
and began to set the room to rights. She at- 
tended to her work silently, and did not even 
look at me. I watched her as she moved 
about, arranging a curtain here, moving a 
chair there, or piling books on the table more 
neatl3^ She was a true type of a Southern 
woman — tall, willowy, a head set on her shoul- 
ders in a way to make an artist involuntarily 
reach for a brush. Her hair and eyes were as 
black as night, while on her cheeks was a 
bright color. There was something on her 
mind, I could see that plainly. I fancied if I 
gave her time it would come out. At last she 
dropped her work and stood looking out of 
the window. 

" What are you thinking about ?"' I asked, 
going at the subject with brusque directness. 

" The man you came to Alabama to kill." 

" You would shield him ?" 

She kept her eyes on the road, watching a 
wagon that lumbered by. " I don't know 
whether I would or not." 

" You want to know all about hhn ?" 



WON OVER 39 

" I do." 

"In the first place, you would like his 
name?" 

" It might be well to begin with that." 

" Then I can't begin, for I don't know his 
name." 

"IS^ot know his name?" 

" No." 

" What is he like ?" 

" Tall, well built, square shoulders which 
he throws back, like an officer in the regular 
army of the United States." 

I paused. She waited for me to continue. 

"You would also like to know whether his 
death would bereave any one : a father, moth- 
er, sister — some woman who hangs upon every 
word he says when he is with her, and dreams 
of him constantly when he is away ?" I spoke 
the words bitterl}'. I was thinkiug of my 
loss. 

" Yes, I would like to know that too." 

" I can't satisfy you. I have seen him only 
once, and then at a distance." 

" Does he Avish to kill you ?" 

" No ; I don't believe he is aware of my ex- 
istence." 

"Singular," she murmured, thoughtfully. 



40 SWEET KEVENGE 

Then she turned and looked me in the face. 
" He has occasioned you some great sorrow — 
done you some mighty wrong?" 

"You promised to ask me no more ques- 
tions." 

" True. I beg your pardon." 

Another woman would have pouted, coaxed, 
done everything but asked openly to have her 
curiosity gratified. Helen Stanforth was made 
of sterner stuff. She stood looking out of the 
window without another word. I waited till 
I was satisfied that she was too proud to ask 
for favor, then started in again with the pur- 
pose of watching the development of some 
other mood. 

" You are heart and soul a Confederate ?" 

" I am." 

" And you will not excuse those Southern 
men and Avomen who differ with you?" 

" Yes, if they do it openly." 

This was a cut at me which I did not care 
to notice. " Have you ever seen," I asked, 
" men forced at the point of the bayonet to 
enter the Confederate army ? Have you ever 
seen families, trying to leave the South to 
join those with whom they affiliated, shot 
down in their tracks ?" 



WON OVER 41 

" You are a Union man, or you ^yould never 
talk that way," she interrupted. 

" I was born and bred in Tennessee." 

" Yes, in East Tennessee." 

" May I not have seen great wrong done, 
and yet given my heart and soul to the South- 
ern cause ?" 

" You may, but have not." 

She was getting too near the truth. I must 
throw her off the trail. 

" I will impart one more piece of informa- 
tion with regard to myself. You have prom- 
ised to ask no more questions and have kept 
your promise ; you deserve a reward." 

I took from my pocket a letter and held it 
up to her. It was addressed to 

MAJOR JOHN BRAXDEHSTAXE, 

— th Tennessee Cavalry 

Murfieeshoro, Tenn, 

Her face lighted. She did not know there 
were Tennessee regiments in the Union ser- 
vice. "I knew you were a soldier, and now 
I know you are a Confederate." She put out 
her hand, but I did not take it. 

" No, no," I said, " I will not take an unfair 
advantage of you. That evidence is not con- 
clusive. I have shown it to you to prove that 



42 SWEET REVENGE 

I may be what I will. I could offer as good 
proof that I am a Yankee." 

" I don't care who you are, you are an hon- 
orable man." 

" I see no reason for you to assume that." 

" You have said it would be easy for you to 
prove to me that you are what I wish you to 
be?" 

" Granted." 

" But you wuU not. You have reason to re- 
main unknown. You have a great purpose. 
You have been robbed of some one you love. 
You have suffered from some of those outrages 
in East Tennessee that papa has told us about. 
There has been a cowardly murder. You will 
be revenged. I know it; I feel it." 

She w^as splendid in her indignation, her 
sympathy. I protested against this burst of 
confidence, but to no purpose. Were I the 
veriest demon in Moloch's train no one could 
convince her of it. I was not learned in the 
ways of women, but I had gained an insight 
into this girl's nature. Though it smouldered, 
it was emotional. No light kindling could set 
it aflame. There must be some strong underly- 
ing impulse. The purpose that I had revealed 
to her had taken hold of her imagination. 



WON OVER 43 

But it troubled her that I should withhold 
my secret from her. She gave me an appeal- 
ing look. 

" Why do you not trust me ?" 

" I do trust you. Am I not at your mercy ? 
Should you inform the authorities that you 
have an unaccounted-for man under your roof 
I sliould be arrested at once." 

"I would never do that." 

''No; but will you aid me in remainine; in- 
cognito ?" 

She was silent. There was evidently a ques- 
tion which she was trying to solve. '' Would 
that be helping you to kill your man?" she 
asked. 

'' Suppose it would ?" 

There was a dangerous glitter in her eye. 
Perhaps she experienced a fascination in being 
thus indirectly a party to my Avork of ven- 
geance. 

" You have not answered my question," I 
said. 

Still she was silent. The blood was cominof 
and going Aurora-like on her neck and cheek. 
Presently she drew her lips together tightly 
as if she were striking an enemy — 

" I will." 



V 
ARREST 

" Have you a man by the name of Brander- 
stane stopping- with you V 

I heard the words spoken at the front door 
in a pleasant voice, in Avhich there was some- 
thing languid. My heart began a vigorous 
thumping. Looking out of the window I saw 
a troop of Confederate cavalry at the gate, and 
men darting in different directions. I knew 
that the house was being surrounded. Helen 
went out to meet the inquirer. 

" Do you wish to see Mr. Branderstane ?" 
she asked. 

"I do." 

Helen must have suspected that I was in 
danger. There was a slight pause, in which I 
fancied she was deliberating what to do. 

" He is in a critical condition," she said. 
" He was wounded recently. Is your business 
with him important V 



AEKEST . 45 

" Very important." 

" Show the gentleman in, if you please, Miss 
Stanforth," I called. I knew there was noth- 
ing to be gained by attempting to put the man 
off. I must appear unconcerned. 

She led the way to where I was. A young 
man m the uniform of a Confederate captain 
entered. He was a handsome fellow, with an 
mdolent, self - indulgent air, and evidently a 
gentleman. He was extremely deferential to 
Helen, carrying his hat in his hand and bear- 
ing himself as if it pained hun to thus trespass 
upon the household. 

" Are yo' John Branderstane, sir V 

" At your service. And 3'ou V 

" Captain Beaumont, — th Geowgia Cavalry, 
sir." 

" What can I do for you, captain ?" 

" I must trouble you to get up and come 
with me." 

" On what authority ?" 

"My own, sir. It has been reported to me 
that a Southern man working in the Yankee 
ijiterest is here, and I have come to take him." 

" Don't 3'ou think that an arbitrary way to 
treat a citizen of Tennessee, captain ?" 

"Not when he has Yankee affihations." 



46 SWEET KEYENGE 

" By what right do you accuse me of Yan- 
kee aiRliations?" 

" You were watched all the time you were 
at Iluntsville, sir. There was no evidence 
against you, and you were allowed to leave the 
city ; but after you had got away a man came 
forward who claimed to have seen you in one 
of the Yankee camps at Nashville." 

" Indeed ? Did he explain his own presence 
there ?" 

This was a home-thrust. The captain hesi- 
tated. 

"It seems to me, captain," I added, follow- 
ing up my advantage, " that you are hasty in 
acting on such information." 

Helen spoke up : " My father was at Nash- 
Yille soon after the surrender. AYould you ar- 
rest him V 

" The information comes pretty straight. I 
reckon you'll have to come along." 

"His wound is liable to open," said Helen, 
"and if it should there might be a fatal re- 

Sillt." 

She spoke with apparent indifference, but 
she could not avoid betraying some interest. 
The officer looked up at her with a pair of soft 
brown eyes inquiringly. I saw at once that 



ARKEST 47 

he suspected a tender relationship between us, 
but he was too well-bred to tread upon so del- 
icate a matter. 

" lie can remain where he is until he is bet- 
ter," he said, bowing to Helen, " if you will 
give me your word — the word of a Southern 
lady — that he shall not leave your house till 
we call for him/' 

Helen cast an inquiring look at me to know 
if she should give the pledge. I saw that a 
glance would enable me to remain where I 
was, and if I chose, after the departure of the 
troop, leave the house, with Helen to bear the 
responsibility of my going. 

"Konsense, man!" I said, rising, "Do you 
suppose I'm going to permit a woman to stand 
between you and me? You are a gentleman, 
if you are taking it upon yourself to arrest 
whom you please. And I'm enough of a gen- 
tleman not to avail myself of your proffered 
avenue of escape. If I must go, I must. 
Where do you intend to take me, captain ?" 

By this time several men who had followed 
the officer pushed their way into the room. I 
received no reply to my question, but was 
ordered to get up and go with them. The 
members of the familv, discovering that some- 



48 SWEET KEVENGE 

thing had gone wrong, flocked about, and it 
was easy to see that though they did not un- 
derstand why I was arrested, they were all in 
sympathy with me. Mrs. Stanforth seemed 
greatly distressed ; Mr. Stanforth attempted 
to argue my case for me— of course to no pur- 
pose ; the negroes were all indignant. AVhile 
waitino' for mv horse I heard Lib deliverino: 
herself in the back hall : 

" Wha' fo' dat mis'able osifer wid he sleeves 
covered all ober wid deni goP snakes goen' t' 
'rest a fine South'n gemmlen like dat ? Dat wha' 
yo' call freedom ? Colored folks got mo' free- 
dom den dat. I hea'h mas'r talken' 'bout 'stu- 
tional libe'y. Wha's de use o' 'stutional libe'y 
when de oder man got he hand on yo' collar?" 

I heard no more, for I was conducted out to 
the gallery. Just as I started down the walk 
Ethel appeared with curious eyes, and I paused 
to take her up and give her a parting kiss. I 
cast a glance at Helen. There was intense in- 
terest in her face, but among so many emotions 
I could not discover which predominated. I 
went with the soldiers down to the gate, where 
I found my horse, and, mounting, a cavalryman 
on each side of me, rode away with the troop. 

We proceeded up the pike for a short dis- 



ARKEST 49 

tance, then, crossing the railroad track, struck 
a road which bent to the east. 

" Captain," I said, " I don't like the direc- 
tion you are going. If your intentions were 
not murderous you would take rae to Hunts- 
ville and examine into the charge against me. 
It appears that you are taking me into the 
country to dispose of me." 

"I am on m}'^ way to join my squadron near 
Brownsborough, sir, where yo' will have an 
opportunity to face you' accuser. If yo' are 
innocent yo'll have no trouble; yo' can en- 
list in my company." 

" Thank you ; do I look like a man who 
would go begging for a commission ?" 

"I beg yo' pardon, sir;" and he lifted his 
hat apologetically. 

I had retained my coolness thus far, but I 
confess I did not like the situation. As a 
Southern man, used to Southern people, I felt 
a certain confidence; yet if it were known 
that I was a Union officer I would be put out 
of the way without benefit of clergy. Who 
was the man who had informed against me ? 
What did he know ? The more I thought 
about it the more intense became my anxiety. 
Suddenly I looked up and saw whit-e tents. 



50 SWEET REVENGE 

I knew at once by the looks of the camp that 
it contained one or two companies of cavahy. 
There was a raih^oad bridge near by, crossing 
Avhat I knew to be Flint River, and I judged 
that the cavalry was guarding this bridge. 

I had forgotten my unlucky wound and 
was intent on the camp, when, passing under 
overhanging branches, a stiff bough scraped 
my arm, and I felt at once that it had been 
injured. I told the captain of my fears, and 
we halted to make an examination. Taking 
off my coat, there, as I expected, was a stain 
of fresh blood on my shirt-sleeve. 

" You needn't trouble yourself to murder 
me," I remarked ; " that wound is a better en- 
emy than all my others together." 

The captain cast glances about him for a 
house. He had no intention of murdering me 
or. being a party indirectly to my death. 
"While he was making a survey of the sur- 
rounding countr}'^ I was twisting my handker- 
chief above the wound. 

" Can you get to that plantation T he 
asked. 

I looked up and saw a large manor-house 
about half a mile distant, with its Hanking 
rows of neii:ro huts. 



AKREST 51 

" I can try it."" 

We mounted and rode on, and in a few min- 
utes passed into the gateway between impos- 
ing stone posts, proceeding by a winding way 
to tlie house. I was glad to dismount and get 
inside the spacious hall out of the sun. There 
I sat down on an old-fashioned, hair-cloth, ma- 
hogany sofa. 

A number of white and negro children, who 
were playing together as contentedly as if 
the pickaninnies were not the property of their 
fair-skinned playmates, stood gaping at me. 
A slim man with a determined mouth, at the 
corners of which were marks of tobacco juice 
— he turned out to be an overseer — an equally 
thin elderly woman, whom I heard addressed 
as Miss Pinkley, and a quadroon girl made up 
the group. I was sitting with my head rest- 
ing against the sofa-back, weak and despond- 
ent. Suddenly down the great winding stair- 
case came a young girl with a shapely petite 
figure, a pretty oval face, and an olive com- 
plexion, from which two almond-shaped eyes 
flashed at me and the group about me with 
the quintessence of astonishment. Running 
her words together in a way peculiar to her- 
self, she asked : 



52 SWEET KEVENGE 

"What's the matter?" 

"The gentleman's bleeding from a wound 
in the arm, Miss Jack," said the quadroon 
girl. 

" AVho is he? What is he? Is he ffoino- to 
die?" She fired the words as if they were 
bullets. 

" Jaqueline," put in the elderl}^ hid}^ called 
Miss Pinkley, " don't ask so many questions 
at once." Then she went up- stairs, remark- 
infi: that she would brini]: her smellino' salts. 

" I don't think I'm going to die just yet," I 
said, smiling encouragingly at the young gii'l, 
whose interest I had excited. " I received a 
Nvound a few days ago and have had very bad 
luck with it. Anything that hits me never 
fails to strike the tender spot." 

"Why don't you He down? Cynthia, go 
get pillows." 

Cynthia, the quadroon girl, was engaged at 
that moment trying to drive away the chil- 
dren, and did not at once obey. 

" Cynthia, go get pillows !" repeated Miss 
Jaqueline, stamping her foot. 

It occurred to me that this 3'oung girl pos- 
sessed an unbridled disposition. Cynthia, who 
was doubtless used to her mistress's way of 



ARREST 53 

speaking, went for the pillows, and when they 
arrived Miss Jack made me lie down, whether 
I would or not, and covered me with a shawl, 
sprinkling me all the while with such a warm 
shower of devotion that, despite her irate or- 
der to her maid, she quite Avon my heart. 

Looking out through the hall door I saw a 
fat man bestride a lean horse, with saddle- 
bags, wiping the perspiration from his face 
and riding up to the gallery. He dismounted 
and entered, puffing for breath, and proved to 
be a countrv doctor. Puttins: on a ffrave 
face, he examined m}'^ wound critically, and 
made great ado at dressing and bandaging it; 
then delivered the usual admonition. He de- 
parted, leaving me l3ing on the sofa. Miss 
Jack beside me, ministering to wants that 
were not wanted, devising schemes to meet 
requirements that were not required. Sud- 
denly the two guards attracted her attention. 
They had been in the hall ever since my ar- 
rival, but had not until this moment excited 
her antagonism. 

" What are you doing here ?" Though her 
words were spoken sharply, her voice was 
soft and musical. 

" On guard," replied one of the men. 



54 SWEET REVENGE 

" This isn't your house. Go ' way from here." 

" Hain't got no orders." 

" I give you orders." Fire was beginning 
to dart from her eyes. 

I interfered. " They are only doing their 
duty." 

" They have no right in tliis house." 

" But if you drive them out they will take 
me with them." 

" Will they?" Her manner changed. "Never 
mind," she said to the guard, " please don't 
leave us ; I wouldn't have you go for the 
world. You're quite ornamental : one on one 
side of the door, the other on the other side, 
like statues; men-at-arms in castle halls." 

The men looked at each other foolishly and 
grinned. The girl went up to one of them 
and asked him to let her examine his carbine. 
He did not quite like to let it go, but she took 
it Avithout saying " by your leave." 

" What a funny gun I How short ! How 
many times can you fire it off? I wonder 
if I could shoot with it I" 

She brought it up to her shoulder, and, after 
pointing it to the wall, levelled it first at one 
man, then at the other. They both looked a 
trifle nervous, but said nothing. Then she 



ARREST 55 

made a motion to cock it when the muzzle 
was covering one of tlie men, and he protest- 
ed. She burst into a merry laugh. 

" What a brave man ! Can't stand being 
pointed at by a girl ! Ever in a battle ? 
What's it like ?" 

The soldier made no reply, but reached for 
his carbine, and seemed very much relieved 
when she suffered him to take it. There was 
no more play, for at that moment we heard 
the sound of horses' hoofs, and, looking out 
through the hall doorway, I saw two men 
riding up to the house. The one was Captain 
Beaumont, the other Tom Jaycox, the bitter- 
est of all my Tennessee enemies, and upon 
whom I had visited most summary punish- 
ment for the part he had taken in the mas- 
sacre. In another minute they had dismount- 
ed and ascended the steps of the gallery, 
then came rapidly through the hall. Captain 
Beaumont's appearance denoted that there was 
something on his mind of great moment. 
His companion lumbered along beside him 
with the appearance of one looking for some- 
thing or some one of peculiar interest to him. 
He was a short, thick-set man in corduroy 
trousers, a double-breasted vest, open, no coat. 



56 SWEET REVENGE 

and a broad-briniraed straw hat, the hue of 
wliich indicated that it had served for several 
summers. His nose had been broken, and he 
had lost an eye. A coarse, stubby, brown-and- 
gray beard grew on his chin. An uglier speci- 
men of the poor wdiite of the South could 
scarcely be imagined, and the moment I saw 
him, knowing of his enmit37^ for me, I gave 
myself up for lost. 

" There he is," said Captain Beaumont. 

" I reckoned so," replied the other ; "' he's 
yo' man." 

" Who is he ?" asked Miss Jack, quickly. 

" A renegade from the South, an abolition 
hound — one o' our East Tennessee dogs. What 
he's doen' hyar I dun no, but I reckon he's on 
some errant fo' the Yankee gineral at Mur- 
freesboro." 

Suddenly all the careless, indolent demeanor 
of the captain deserted him. With true South- 
ern impulse, without stopping to investigate 
the charge, he was fired by the story that 
he held in his hands one who, though a South- 
erner, was hunting information for the detest- 
ed Yankees. 

" Guard !" he called. 

The two men approached. 



ARREST 57 

" Take him away and see that he doesn't 
get back here. I don't want ever to see him 
again." 

I was stunned. I knew well what this or- 
der meant. I had heard it given in case of 
outlaws, and knew that it was the form in 
which orders were given to take men out and 
shoot them. Many a guerilla received his 
sentence in those words. 

"Captain," I cried, "if you shoot me you 
will commit a murder ! That man " — pointing 
to the brute beside him — " is the real mur- 
derer. I know liim well. I saw him shoot- 
ing down women and children. I saw him — " 
I stopped short. There was an incredulous 
look on the captain's face. I knew that my 
accuser had his confidence. I realized that 
denials and counter accusations were expected 
from one in my position, and would have no 
v;eight. 

Jaqueline, though she could not have un- 
derstood the captain's order, from my words • 
and from my stricken appearance realized the 
situation. She stood paralyzed, but only for 
a moment. While the guards were advancinfj 
towards me she stole up to the captain arid 
slipped her arm through his. When he looked 



58 SWEET REVENGE 

down at her she was gazing up into his face 
with the perfection of coquetry. I watched 
the effect eagerl}'-. His first expression was 
one of surprise, then all severity died away; 
an amused look followed, mingled with admi- 
ration, and at last he broke into a pleasant 
smile. 



VI 

AN AMATEUR SOUBRETTE 

I HAVE seen men disarmed in various ways: 
by argument, fear, force ; but never have I 
seen one so quickly vanquished as he who was 
about to rush me off to execution. His in- 
tended act was most unwarranted, and had he 
been induced to refrain by logical arguments 
I should not have been surprised. But Jaque- 
line knew nothino; of loo;ic or the merits of the 
case. She used no plea ; she conquered by a 
look. 

" What a queer man !" 

" Who — I V The captain's smile broadened. 

" Queerest man I ever saw. What do yo' 
want to take him away fo' ? Don't y' know 
he's wounded, and we just got him fixed upC" 

" You don't mean it !" He spoke as defer- 
entially as if the information were really a 
surprise to him. 

" Don't want ever to see him again ? What 



60 SWEET REVENGE 

a grumpy thing you must be I Suppose I'd 
say I wanted never to see you again ?" 

" YouVl break my heart." 

All this was not to the liking of the cap- 
tain's companion. " Well, captain," he put in, 
" what y' goen' ter do ? Goen' ter let him lay 
thar to be coddled b}^ the fambly ?" 

" Yo' hush !" cried Jaqueline, with suddenly 
flashing eyes. The man started back. Pos- 
sibly he was unused to such quick transitions. 
" Yo' can't take him away till his arm gets 
well. 'Spose he bleeds to death ? You'd have 
his blood on yo' hands. Just think of that!" 

Considering that tiiey had intended to take 
me out and shoot me, the warning was, to say 
the least, amusing. Every one burst into a 
lauofh ; indeed, I could hardly refrain from 
joining in it myself, notwithstanding my criti- 
cal situation. 

" You certainly don't want to commit a 
gross blunder, captain," I remarked. " You 
can at least give me some sort of a trial." 

" Reckon I can refer the matter to head- 
quarters," lie replied, fixing his eyes on Jaque- 
line. 

It was a delicate scale that balanced life 
and death in war time, and often required only 



AN AMATEUR SOUBRETTE 61 

a feather's weight to turn it. It had been turn- 
ed, for the time, and turned effectually. The 
guards were ordered back, and the captain 
sauntered away with my accuser, who ex- 
postulated as they passed out of the house 
on to the galler3^ Pulling a cigar out of his 
pocket, Captain Beaumont sat down in a rock- 
ing-chair and began to smoke as tranquilly as 
if nothing unusual had happened, listening 
composedly to the ruffian who was trying to 
s:et him to shoot me. But Beaumont was now 
as difficult to move, as imperturbable, as he had 
been before irate, and Jaycox at last went 
away disappointed. He gave me a malignant 
glance before going, which said, plainly, " I'll 
fix you yet." 

The captain continued sitting where he was, 
his head resting on the back of the rocker, 
looking dreamily up at the waving branches 
of a large tree set against the blue sky. Sup- 
per Avas announced, and Jaqueline, taking a 
rose, went out, and, fixing it in a buttonhole 
of his coat, led him into the dining-room. 
Before passing out of sight she turned and 
gave me a meaning glance, accompanied by a 
wry face at her companion. As the captain's 
back was turned, it was safe for me to indulge 



63 SWEET REVENGE 

ill a smile. Indeed, I fear I could hardly have 
refrained had his face been towards me. This 
little Jaqueline was certainly unique. 

While they were at supper I was deliberat- 
ing upon the situation. It w^as evident that my 
old enemies had either stumbled upon me or 
had learned of my presence in Korth Alabama, 
and were bent on my destruction. It was a 
desperate case. I was an officer in the Union 
army, within the enemy's lines, in citizen's 
dress, and in that enemy's hands. I was 
hounded by men who would not scruple to 
use any means to get me into their power. If 
I did not escape from the Confederates I 
should hang; if I did escape I should be 
murdered. 

Presently Jaqueline and the captain came 
out from the supper-room, Jaqueline in ad- 
vance, the captain's eyes fixed on the pretty 
ligure before him. Jaqueline was very grace- 
ful, very dainty. Her every motion was charm- 
ing. She was so light on her feet that she 
seemed scarcely to touch the ground. Though 
she walked, she danced, while her eyes danced 
with her body, her lips wearing a perpetual 
smile. Once she took two or three steps, turn- 
ing half around— a lYiere suspicion of a dance 



AN AMATEUR SOUBKETTE 63 

— a delicious, tantalizing bit, like a sip of rare 
wine. 

'' I'd like to meet yo' in a ball-room," re- 
marked the captain, languidly. 

" Why so ?" 

"Yo' would dance beautifully; yo'd make 
a charming partner." 

" I can sing." 

" Can you ?" 

" Yes, and play. One day I was playing 
Ginger's banjo behind the barn. Papa called, 
'Yo' Ginger, stop that infernal twanging!' 
Wasn't it funny ?" 

She laughed ; the captain laughed ; I 
laughed. There was something very catching 
about the little minx that neither of us could 
resist. 

She drew an arm-chair close beside the sofa 
on which I was lying, and insisted on the cap- 
tain seating himself in it. He demurred, but 
Miss Jack would have it so, and the man, who 
half an hour before had ordered me out to be 
shot, was sitting by me as though we were ex- 
cellent friends. Jaqueline seated herself in a 
rocker directly in view of both myself and the 
captain, and, rocking vigorousl}' all the while, 
chatted like a magpie. The captain settled 



64 SWEET REVENGE 

himself within his comfortable seat, asked per- 
mission to smoke, and, finding tliat he had but 
one cigar, insisted on my smoking it. Of 
course I refused, but he was too innately well- 
bred to smoke it himself without another for 
me. Miss Jack solved the }3roblem by stand- 
ing; before him with a lio'hted match till he 
was forced to yield. 

Then from without came the jingle of a 
banjo. Jaqueline caught the sound and stood 
listening, her head poised on one side, her eyes 
sparkUng as though forgetful of ever^'thing 
save the music. 

"That's 'The Bonny Blue Flag'!" she ex- 
claimed, and she hummed the words in a 
sweet though bj'^ no means strong voice. As 
she went on she sang rather than hummed, 
becoming more and more animated, keeping 
time by patting her foot on the floor. I 
glanced at the captain. He was looking at her 
admiringly, the charm enhanced at hearing a 
war-song dear to every Confederate soldier, 
given with so much spirit by such an attrac- 
tive creature. 

Suddenly the music stopped. 

" Don't yo' like music ?" asked Jaqueline of 
the captain, ^^/do — I love it." 



AN AMATEUK SOUBRETTE 65 

"I like it when warbled by such attractive 
lips," replied the officer. 

Then the banjoist without played a Spanish 
dance. Jaqueline's body began to vibrate. 
But, though alive in every limb, she did not 
dance. There was something tantalizing in a 
promised treat that was not realized. 

" Dance !" cried the captain, an expectant 
look in his handsome eyes. 

"Slialll?" 

" Do, please," I put in. 

As a bird that lias been soaring slowly sails 
away in its expected course, Jaqueline passed 
from comparative rest to motion. In another 
moment she was moving about the hall with 
improvised steps, as though dancing was, to 
use a paradoxical expression, her normal con- 
dition of rest. She floated, drooped, rose, rest- 
ed, keeping time with her head, her arms, her 
whole body. For a while I Avas so delighted 
that I forgot all except the dance, and when I 
bethought myself to look at the captain it 
was easy to see that the thrall Jaqueline had 
been weaving about him was complete. 

" Jaqueline !" 

Miss Pinkley had entered the hall and stood 
looking at her severely. Jaqueline stopped as 



66 SWEET REVENGE 

suddenly as if she had been moved by electric- 
ity and the current had been turned off. 

" I'm astonished at yo','' said the lady. 
" Yo've made the acquaintance of these gen- 
tlemen only this afternoon, and here yo' are 
dancing befo' them as if yo' were a soubrette 
in a theatre." 

" My dear madam," I interposed, " you have 
no idea of the pleasure she has given us. She 
would be a grand success on any stage." 

"Do yo' think so?" queried Jaqueline, 
triumphantly. " I'd love to dance on the 
stage." 

"Jaqueline!" again cried Miss Pinkley. 

"What's the harm, auntie? I'm not on the 
stage." 

" Yes, but you want to be. To think of a 
Rutland on the stage ! Yo' pa would be mavv- 
tified to death." 

She passed up- stairs, and Jaqueline began 
affain to rattle on in her singular wav. Sud- 
denly it struck her that she w^anted Ginger's 
banjo, and, calling Cynthia, she sent her for it. 
Then, after testing the strings, she began to 
play and sing. The music was light but sweet, 
being composed chiefly of those unique negro 
melodies, born under the slave system as deli- 



AN AMATEUR SOUBKETTE 67 

cate plants sometimes spring up among poi- 
sonous weeds. 

Without warning she put the banjo down 
and began to talk again, skipping from one 
subject to another, astonishing us by her con- 
fidences, sometimes asking questions but sel- 
dom waiting for an answer. Presentl}^ I spoke 
of my stay at the Stanforths. 

" The Stanforths !" she cried. " Do you 
know 'em ?" 

" Yes ; do you ?" 

" Ought to ; they're my cousins. Did you 
see Minerva ?" 

"No. Who's Minerva?" 

"Her real name is Helen, We called her 
Minerva at school. I went to school with her 
two vears. She's older than I, though." 

"I have met Miss Helen Stanforth." 

" If you refer to the young lad}'^ we met to- 
da}^," the captain remarked, " she's a ver}'- beau- 
tiful and high-bred woman — much like our 
Geowgia beauties." 

" She knows ever3"thing," said Jaqueline ; 
" theology, geology, biology, psychology. Any 
more of 'em ?" 

" That's quite enough," I admitted. 

"Did vou see Buck?" 



68 SWEET REVENGE 

" Oh yes ; Buck and I became quite friendly." 

" Friendly ! Buck was born to be hanged." 

" What makes you think that ?" 

" Most fiery, pestiferous little imp yo' ever 
saw! Doesn't stop at anything." 

"Mere flashes of a strong nature. When 
he grows up he'll control it and be all the 
stronger for it." 

"Think so? If he was black and I owned 
him, I'd have him whipped every day." 

A colored woman came in and told the cap- 
tain that Miss Pinkley presented her compli- 
ments, and a room was ready for him when- 
ever he chose to occupy it. She also informed 
him that I could have a room. 

" Captain," I said, " I have no reason to get 
away from you. Indeed, I wouldn't leave 
your guardianship just now for a plantation. 
The man who has accused me is in league with 
others who are interested in getting me out of 
the wa}^ Now if you'll permit me to go to 
bed without a guard I'll give you my word of 
honor not to leave this house till after the 
watch has been resumed to-morrow." 

" Now, captain," put in Jaqueline, before the 
officer could reply, "let the poo' man go to 
bed." 



AN AMATEDR SOUBEETTE 69 

" Fo' yo' sake ?" he asked, looking at her 
with an expression half admiring, half comical. 

" Fo' my sake, fo' 3^0' sake, fo' everybody's 
sake." 

She went up in front of him, and, putting 
her little oval face within a few inches of his, 
brought her snapping eyes to bear on him, and 
stood waiting for liis decision. 

" "Well, I reckon I must let yo' have yo' way. 
Yo're too pretty to qua' el Avith." 

She clapped her hands. " I knew it ! Love- 
liest man I ever met ! Too sweet for any- 
thing !" 

The captain smiled that pleasant, indolent 
smile of his, looking at me at the same time, as 
much as to sa}^, " What a deliciously odd 
creature," while Jaqueline disappeared as sud- 
denly as an actress who had finished her part. 
Ginger came in with a decanter and glasses, 
which he placed on the table. The captain 
sat down before the wine and invited me to 
join him. 

" Miss Rutland is ce'tainly a dainty little 
thing," he said, as "he took the stopper from 
the decanter and filled our glasses. 

" She certainly is." 

" Most charming creature I ever saw." 



70 SWEET KEVENGE 

" What a soubrette she would make !" 

" Ravishing-. Fill yo' glass, sir ; ravishing. 
Do yo' know, I never saw mo' graceful danc- 
in o^ on the stage ?" 

" Nor I." 

" And what a sweet little voice !" 

" The notes of a bird." 

By this time I had made up my mind that it 
would be impossible to get the captain on any 
other subject than Jaqueline, and he talked 
of iier the rest of the evening — indeed, till he 
had finished the decanter. I could not but be 
amused at the transition Jaqueline had wrought 
in his treatment of me. It occurred to me to 
test his good-nature still further. 

"Captain," I remarked, "I'm caught away 
from home with a thin pocket-book ; could you 
let me have a hundred dollars till I can get to 
where there is a bank ?" 

" Certainly, sir, with pleasure ; no trouble at 
all," and, pulling out a thick roll of Confeder- 
ate bills, he tossed them over to me. 

" Captain," I said, pushing back the bills, " I 
don't need money. I only wanted to see if it 
were possible for a man to order another out 
to be shot in the afternoon and do him a favor 
in the evening.'' 



AN AMATEUR SOUBEETTE 71 

" My dear sir," he replied, " permit me to 
apologize for my hasty action. I give yo' the 
word of a Geowgia gentleman, that had not 
that delightful little creature interposed I 
should now deeply regret the execution of my 
order." 

" You mean my execution." 

" Yo' very good health, sir, and that of the 
little lady." 

The decanter was empty. Ginger, the ma- 
jordorao, appeared, assisted the captain up- 
stairs to one of the main chambers in the cen- 
tre of the house, then conducted me through a 
hall to a wing, and ushered me into the apart- 
ment intended for me. 



VII 
MIDNIGHT 

What faded splendor! All the furniture 
was mahogany ; the bed, a huge four-poster, 
canopied ; the bureau high and Avith brass 
handles to its drawers ; the chairs straight- 
backed ; from the centre of the ceilino^ huno^ a 
chandelier of glass pendants. All this antique 
magnificence was lighted by the single tallow 
dip which also glistened upon the honest face 
of Ginger. 

" I hope yo' berry corafolem, sah," said Gin- 
ger, setting down the candle and turning to 
depart. 

"No doubt of it. Wait a bit; I want you 
to tell me to whom this plantation belongs." 

" Gunnel Rutland, sah." 

"Been in this family long?" 

" A thousand years, sah." 

"What?" 

" Don't know nothen' 'bout counten' ; spec 



MIDNIGHT 73 

it's been in de fanvly mighty long time. Gun- 
nel Rutland, be inigbty fine genTman, sab. 
Gunnel Rutland, be own ten bundred t'ousand 
acres — ^" 

" How many ?" 

" De biggest plantation in all Alabama, sab. 
Gunnel Rutland be de biggest — " 

" Wait a bit. Ginger. "Wbo is Miss Pink- 
ley?" 

"Missy Pinkley, sbe migbty fine lady, sab. 
Missy Pinkley, sbe — " 

" Wbat relation is sbe to Golonel Rutland ?" 

'' Missy Pinkley, sbe war Missy Rutland's 
sistab, sab. Missy Pinkley, sbe — " 

" Wbere is Mrs. Rutland ?" 

" Missy Rutland, she's daid." 

" Who is Miss Jaqueline ?" 

" Missy Jack, she's de fust 3'oung lady in de 
Souf, sab. When Missy Jack go to de planters' 
balls, and de city balls in Huntsville, she tak' 
all de young men away from de udder young 
ladies, an' mak' 'em all mad 'nuff to eat her up." 

" Sbe is Golonel Rutland's daughter, I sup- 
pose ?" 

" Yes, sab. Missy Jack de apple ob Gunnel 
Rutland's eye, sab. Gunnel Rutland don' care 
nuffen 'bout nobody but Missy Jack." 



74 SWEET REVENGE 

" How about you colored people ?" 

" What dat, sail V 

" Do you like Miss Jaqueline ?" 

" Like Missy Jack ! Reckon de culled peo- 
ple do like Missy Jack. Culled people lub 
Missy Jack like de angel ob — " 

" Isn't she just a bit hot-tempered V 

"Reckon Missy Jack is hot-tempered, sah. 
Missy Jack, she got de hottest temper in de 
whole Souf. Missy Jack, she — " 

" Hold on ; explain why you all love Miss 
Jack when she has a hot temper and speaks 
to you so sharply." 

" Laws-a-massy, she don' mean nuffen. Missy 
Jack, she scol' wid de firebrand in de eye, but 
she won' let nobody else scol', Yo' ought to 
see dat gal when Mars'r Bingham — Mars'r 
Bin^i^ham, he de oberseer — Mars'r Bingham 
whip de niggers. One day Mars'r Bingham 
he whip me. I yelled like a killed nigger. 
Missy Jack, she run out wid her hair a-flying 
and her eyes a-shinen', and she tak' de whip out 
o' Mars'r Bingham's ban', an' — golly Moses ! 
— how she lay it on dat oberseer!" 

"Did he take it kindly?" 

"i7<3 couldn't do nuffen; ef he tech Missy 
Jack, Gunnel Rutland shoot him. Gunnel Rut- 



MIDNIGHT 75 

land, he got de biggest temper, 'cept Missy 
Jack — ain't nobody got temper lak Missy 
Jack in — " 

" Any more Rutlands V 

" No, sah. Ain't dat 'nuff — all dem mighty 
fine people ?" 

" Quite enough. Now you may go, Gin- 
ger." 

Ginger departed with a frown that I should 
have called for more such people as the Rut- 
lands, and somewhat disappointed, I fancied, 
at not being able to impress me with the mag- 
nitude of the family temper. I closed the 
door behind him and locked it. 

" John Branderstane," I said, looking at the 
dim reflection of my body in one of the great 
mirrors, "had it not been for that little girl 
down-stairs your being would now be no more 
real than that image.' Never have you had 
so close a call, and you'll never have another 
so close without it being the last. But you've 
no time to waste. Your situation will be more 
critical with the rising sun than it is this min- 
ute. Something must be done." 

I went to a window. It was at the end of 
the building. My room was on the second 
story of tlie house, at no great height from 



76 SWEET REVENGE 

the ground. I turned from the window to 
another facing the rear ; they were all open, 
for the weather was warm and sultr3^ At 
this second window was something which at- 
tracted my attention at once — a tree growing 
so near that I could easily step into its 
branches and descend to the ground. 

"Thank Heaven, here is an avenue of es- 
cape !" 

But my pledge. 

It is questionable if those moral heroes 
who prefer death to dishonor would choose 
the former if the alternative were presented 
as it was to me. Death in the form it awaited 
me certainlv looked very ugly. If I kept my 
word and remained till morning my identity 
was sure to come out. If fortune enabled me 
to conceal it, if the captain permitted me to 
go my way, I was sure to fall into the hands 
of my enemies. By leaving in the night I 
could give both the slip, and by morning be 
far away or so disguised that I should not be 
recognized if found. I might possibly reach 
the Union lines. 

I had never before broken a pledge ; but I 
had never before seen certain death starino- 
me in the face. In the ordinary affairs of life, 



MIDNIGHT 77 

I reasoned, one should have a high standard, 
but in a matter of life or death— Besides, 
who ever heard of one carrying information 
in war stopping at a lie or the violation of a 
pledge ? 

Placing my foot on the sill, I was reaching 
for a branch of the tree without when I sud- 
denly stepped back into the room, sat down 
in a chair, and buried ni}'' face in my hands. 
A vision of Ethel Stanforth, sweet, gentle, in- 
nocent, stood before me. As a flash of lio^ht- 
ning will clear a murky atmosphere, my 
human reasoning vanished before a divine in- 
tuition. I could not break my pledge. 

Then I fell to thinking. How difficult it 
is, after all, to look into the future ; who 
knows but some new outlet may occur to- 
morrow ? This captain is a singular man, and 
no one can tell what whim may seize him 
next. To-day he ordered me out to be shot ; 
to-morrow he may send me away from my 
enemies with an escort to protect me. Then 
there is little Jaqueline. She has slipped a 
noose about his neck that he will not easily 
shake off. She may find a hiding-place for me, 
or an avenue which will eventually lead to safe- 
ty. I Avas so pleased with the probabilities I 



78 SWEET KEVENGE 

conjured up that I got up and walked back 
and forth, rubbing ray hands with satisfac- 
tion. 

Fool ! stupid human fool ! The events fate 
had in store for me were nothing, as my fore- 
sight had painted. 

I heard a tramp of horses' hoofs coming 
through the gatewa}''. Going to a front win- 
dow and looking out, I saw two figures on 
horseback. It was too dark for me to distin- 
guish them ; though one was very small, the 
other seemed to be a woman, for I could see 
her garments fluttering. They came canter- 
ing down the roadway to the gallery, and must 
have dismounted, for soon I heard a knocking. 
Leaving the chamber, I went through the hall 
on tiptoe and stood at the head of the great 
staircase, listening. There were voices below, 
but I could not tell whose they were. I waited 
some time for more information, but those 
who were talking went into another part of 
the house, and I was obliged to return to my 
room unsatisfied. I sat down again and re- 
newed my musings — musings that were not of 
the pleasantest. 

I had not sat long when two men passed 
-tmder the window. They were talking in a 



MIDNIGHT 79 

low tone. The voice of one was that of a 
white man, the other that of a negro. The 
negro said something which was inaudible; 
then the white man asked : 

"Which wing?" 

" Dar." 

Is not that Jaycox's voice ? It is ; there is 
no mistaking that harsh growl. AVhat can it 
mean ? Ah ! I see it all. He expects that I 
will elude this easy-going captain, and he Avill 
spread a net for the bird before it flies. Fort- 
unate ! If I had descended by the tree I 
should have dropped into his embrace. 

My anxiety was now more intense than 
ever. The cords were surel}^ drawing about 
me. 

"Nonsense!" I said to mvself; "I'm losing; 
my head. True, I'm in a tight place; but 
tight places are interesting. Men who pos- 
sess great presence of mind are best fitted to 
escape great dangers. When the cards run 
high the coolest wins. I propose to defeat 
all these conv'^erging enemies by keeping my 
head. I shall go to bed and get a good sleep. 
Then on the moiTow I shall be in shape for the 
fight." 

My resolution, together with the fatigue of 



80 SWEET KEVENGE 

an eventful day, brought slumber sooner than 
might have been expected. But I soon awoke, 
and, having awakened, was wide awake. I sat 
up in bed. I could look out of the window 
into the tree which had invited me to descend 
by its branches. I thought I saw a dark 
object that did not belong there. The leaves 
were not far enough advanced to conceal, nor 
young enough to fully reveal any object hid- 
den there. The night was not one of the 
darkest, yet there was a little light — starlight, 
and no moon. 

" Imaginary terrors !" I muttered. " Go to 
sleep." 

I lay down, drew the sheet up, tucked it in 
at the back of my neck, and obeyed the com- 
mand I had given myself by passing back into 
slumber. 

I dreamed that I was standing under a great 
glass receiver, and a man was working a pump 
to exhaust the air. At every stroke I felt less 
able to breathe, till at last I was suffocating. 
I awoke, and was conscious of some one stuffing 
a cloth into my mouth. I tried to cry out, 
but could make no sound. Two men stood 
beside me, one gagging me, while the other 
began to tie my hands. This done, they 



MIDNIGHT 81 

carried me, irapotently writhing, to the win- 
dow. 

" Bring them clothes, Pete," said one of the 
men ; " he'll give us away without 'em." 

It's Tom Jaycox ! I'm lost ! 

The man called Pete snatched my clothes 
and threw them out on the ground below. 
Then the two began the work of getting me 
through the window. Jaycox, who had the 
strength of an ox, seizing my Avrists, while the 
man behind pushed. They got me out into 
the limbs of the tree, where, if I continued to 
struggle, I was in danger, bound hand and 
foot as I was, of pounding the earth below. I 
made a virtue of necessity and permitted them 
to lower me. Once on the ground they hus- 
tled me to a clump of trees back of the house, 
where I was unbound, and, covered by the 
muzzles of two revolvers, forced to put on my 
clothes. Then they rebound my wrists and 
ran me behind the barn, where two horses 
stood ready saddled. Jaycox took me in his 
steel arms and tossed me on to one of them 
with as much ease as if I had been a bag of 
meal. The two men mounted the other horses 
and we started off, circling around back of the 
negro huts and under trees to a side gate 

6 



82 SWEET REVENGE 

opening on the pike. Once away from the 
grounds we set off at a gallop. 

Kidnapped ! Now I may save myself any 
further worry. The inevitable is before me. 
Before daylight I shall be a dead man. 



VIII 
ON THE PLATEAU 

On, on we sped, under starlight, over stony 
pike, steel-shod hoofs striking fire on flinty 
stones, snake fences writhing, trees dancing in 
a semicircle about those beyond. We dashed 
over wooden bridges ; we splashed through 
shallow streams ; we dipped into hollows and 
tilted over crests, while now and again some 
startled bird stretched its wings and went 
whirring into the forest. 

On my right rode Tom Jaycox, holding my 
bridle-rein, his ugly face turned always towards 
me. Every crime-moulded feature — his cold, 
steel eye, his knitted, overhanging brows, 
spoke one word: " Vengeance !" On the other 
side galloped a man, long, lean, hungry, grind- 
ing uneasily on a quid. I did not know his 
name, but memory brought me a picture of 
that same face lighted by shot-guns flashing 
in the night. 



84 SWEET REVENGE 

Our breakneck speed lasted till we had put 
some miles between us and the plantation, 
then we slackened our pace and wallced our 
panting horses till the}^ had partl}^ recovered 
their wind, then struck a trot. It was imma- 
terial to me at what gait we moved, I thought 
only of my approaching end. Surely it could 
not be far distant. Why did it not come 
at once? A pistol-ball, a club — anything is 
enough to take a life. Then I shuddered 
as the thought struck me that I was to be 
kept for a more lingering death. 

We were passing between a range of hills 
on our left and the Cumberland plateau on our 
riofht when Javcox drew rein and we all came 
to a halt. There was a sound of horses' hoofs 
behind, coming at a brisk canter; but no soon- 
er had we stopped than the sounds ceased. 
Both the men listened until all was silent, then 
Jay cox started on. 

" All right, Pete," he said. " Whoever it is 
has either stopped or left the road." 

" Some un goen' home late, I reckon." 

We proceeded on our way, but had gone 
scarcely a quarter of a mile when we again 
heard the hoof-beats in our rear. Again we 
pulled up and listened. 



ON THE PLATEAU 85 

" By gosh, Tom," said Pete, "thet beats me!" 

"Shet up!" 

Both listened, waiting to hear the sounds 
renewed, but as they were not we started on. 
For the second time the hoof-beats recom- 
menced, and this time a little nearer. 

" We must git outen this," said Jaycox. 
"Let's take to the hills here instead o' furder 
on." 

Turning to the right Ave passed through tim- 
ber, beginning a gradual ascent of the plateau. 
Jaycox rode ahead, holding my bridle-rein, 
while Pete followed, revolver in hand. 

Who were on the road I knew no more than 
my abductors, but as a drowning man will 
catch at a straw I cast about for some method 
of letting them know of our digression. Bend- 
ing low in the saddle, I peered through the 
gloom, watching for something with which to 
produce sound, for my gag prevented my 
shouting, and a shout would have brought 
punishment. Coming upon a flat rock, by a 
pressure of the knees I guided my horse over 
it, but it was too firmly imbedded to be moved. 
Soon after I encountered another, right on the 
edge of the trail. Digging my heels into my 
horse's flanks and throwing my body out of 



86 SWEET KEVEXGE 

equilibrium I forced him to prance. A vigor- 
ous pull on my bridle-rein by Jaycox saved 
him from going over the inchne, carrying me 
with him. But I had accomplished my pur- 
pose, I heard the stone go crashing down the 
mountain. 

" You infernal dog," cried the man in the 
rear, " ef yer do thet agin I'll run a knife 
atwixt yer shoulders !" 

" Ef he does 't agin yer needn't trouble yer- 
self to stick him ; the fall ud finish him." 

Higher, higher, we mounted, farther from 
the dark plain below, upon which here and 
there shone a lonely light ; nearer to the 
patches of fleece in the heavens, and the stars 
looking down from above. Then came a faint 
light in the sky and a gray tinge over the 
country below. Woods, streams, fields, houses, 
barns, grew out of the darkness. The light 
broadened, there were gilded clouds in the 
east, the sun cast its first beams over the 
heights and upon the landscape below. We 
had reached the upper level ; w^e were on the 
plateau. 

Espying a log-house ahead, the men consult- 
ed, and determined to try for some breakfast. 
They took the gag out of my mouth, and as 



ON THE PLATEAU 



soon as I was free to speak, anxious to be at 
once put beyond suffering and the terrible sus- 
pense of an impending murder, I cried : 

"You dogs! you cowards! vou're ffoino^ 
to kill me ! ^^^hy do you delay ?" 

They looked at each other knowingly and 
grinned — a horrible, soulless grin, 

" D' y' reckon yer goen' to git ter heaven 
without payen' fo' th' damage y' done?'' 
snarled Jaycox, with an ugly light in his eye. 

"Ah, that's your game !" 

" We know you uns ter be as well fixed fo' 
property as any young man in Tennessee. An' 
we're goen' to hev a slice too. But yer needn't 
reckon thet's goen' ter save y'. Yer got ter 
shell out, 'n then — " His look told the rest. 

" Give me one shot with mv back against a 
tree, and I'll fight two such cowards as you." 

" Shet up !" snapped Jaycox, showing his 
teeth within a foot of my face, and with a 
glance like that of an angry bulldog. Then, 
riding up to the entrance of the hut, he shout- 
ed : 

" Hello thar !" 

An old woman came to the door with an 
iron spoon in her hand. 

" Wall, what's wanted ?" 



88 SWEET REVENGE 

" Snack." 

"Hain't got nothen' but pone." 

" Got any cofiFee ?" 

"Coffee? D' y' reckon Abe Lincoln's goen' 
ter let us hev coffee away up in these moun- 
tings, when they hain't got none down in th' 
towns? I got a yarb '11 do purty wal, 
though." 

My captors dismounted, breakfasted, then 
arranged for a short nap, one watching Avhile 
the other slept. Jaycox first sprawled him- 
self on the ground, and was asleep in a twink- 
ling, while his comrade sat staring at me with, 
his gun ready cocked. I knew that if I made 
the slightest movement with a view to escape 
he would shoot me. Occasionally he looked 
impatiently at a handsome gold watch — doubt- 
less taken in spoil — as if anxious for the expi- 
ration of his hour of duty. Towards the last 
he nodded. I was near some low bushes and 
began to roll towards them. He awoke w4th 
a start, and, quick as a flash, brought his gun 
to his shoulder. 

" Yo' hound !" 

Jaycox opened his eyes, and, seeing a mur- 
derous look in his companion's face, and a gun 
right over his foot pointed at me, kicked the 



ON THE PLATEAU 89 

weapon upward, discharging it, thus doubt- 
less for the time saving ray life. 

This finished the first watch, and Ja3"cox 
took his turn, admonishing me that if I tried 
the experiment again he would tie me up by 
the thumbs. I dreaded this torture, and gave 
him no cause to enforce it ; besides, he kept 
awake during his entire watch. 

The men having secured the needed rest, we 
broke our bivouac, Ja3xox loosened the horses, 
and his companion kept me covered with his 
gun while I mounted. xVs I put my foot in the 
stirrup I happened to glance aside and saw 
two horsemen approaching. In a moment I 
recoo:nized Buck Stanforth and Ginger. Ilow 
they came to be there was a mystery. I only 
knew they were there, and rejoiced. At seeing 
me Buck was about to give a shout, when he 
bethought himself that such a proceeding 
might be fatal, and regained his composure 
just as his presence was discovered. Ginger 
showed no signs of recognition whatever. I 
shot a quick glance at Jaycox, to see if he rec- 
oirnized the negro. To mv relief he did not 
appear to know either Buck or Ginger. 

" Say, yo' men," called Back, " can we get 
somepin to eat hyar ?*' 



90 SWEET EEVENGE 

" Ef thar's any vittels left," said Jaycox, 
" What you uns doen' out this time o' day V 

" Oh," said Buck — I trembled lest his wits 
should desert him at a critical moment — " I'm 
taken' this nigger to his new master. He's 
sold." 

" Yer a peart 'un ter deliver a nigger ; reck- 
on he don't mind goen' witli yer." 

Buck and Ginger dismounted as we depart- 
ed, I was obliged to part with them without 
being: able to utter a word or make a sign. 
Still their presence gave me hope. Hope ! 
What could a simple negro and a boy do to 
rescue me from two stalwart brutes who were 
watching me like cats? 

All day we moved northward, the men rid- 
ing close beside me, now and again turning 
their ugly faces towards me with a grin of 
satisfaction, or a scowl when I did or said 
anything to displease them, often bending 
close to me, sickening me with their rank to- 
bacco-smelling: breaths or the worse odor of 
their unwashed bodies. We met no one. The 
only comfort I derived was from the natural 
objects of the mountains. A red fox stole 
away under cover, a chipmunk, fearless and 
free, sat on a log, looking at us curiously as 



ON THE PLATEAU 91 

we passed. A budding wild rose brushed 
ray boot ; it was like the kiss of a loving 
companion. Even the twittering birds seemed 
to be offering sympathy. 

Towards evening, as the sun stood just 
above the horizon, a dull red ball, a shad- 
ow resting on the lower landscape, one of 
my captors gave a whoop. It Avas answered 
by a man ahead, and in a moment a dozen 
more started from about a camp-fire. 

" Got him ?" yelled the foremost of the 
group. 

" Yo' bet !"' 

With a cheer every man sprang for his gun. 

" Hold on thar !" roared Jaycox, with his 
bull's voice. " Don't yer be fo'gettin' we're 
goen' ter be paid fo' our losses fust." 

A man b}'^ no means as repulsive as the rest, 
slenderly built, with a wxak mouth, long, 
black hair, and a beard through which shone 
a tinge of color on his cheek, stepped to 
the front as with authority, and it was soon 
evident that he w\as in command. He in- 
quired about certain of the gang who were 
lurking about Huntsville. Jaycox mentioned 
the name " Ike," though I could not hear what 
he said, w^iereupon the captain turned and 



92 SWEET REVENGE 

glanced at me. I inferred that Ike was the 
man who had tried to kill me, and whom I 
had killed for his pains. Then the captain 
and Jaycox went into a thicket near by, evi- 
dently for consultation, and were followed by 
the others, while I remained behind, still sit- 
ting on my horse, and watched by Pete, who 
stood on the ground, a great gaunt figure, one 
hand holding the bridle-rein of his horse as 
he nipped the grass, the other grasping a 
cocked revolver. He was looking at me from 
under his faded sombrero, his eyes peering 
into mine malignantly, his jaws grinding on 
his quid, the juice of which soiled the corners 
of his mouth. I could not endure to look at 
him, and turned towards the landscape below. 
The sun had set ; it was the beginning of 
night. Was it not the beginning for me of 
the eternal night? 



IX 

FIENDS 

It was plain to me that I was in the hands 
of that terrible war-time scourge of the South, 
the guerrilla. This band had been made up 
in East Tennessee, and had moved out of their 
original stamping-ground to get away from 
their old homes, and find a better field for 
pillage. From the Cumberland plateau they 
could swoop down towards Xashville, Mur- 
freesborough, McMinnville, Shelbyville, Fay- 
ette, or Huntsville, and, if chased, could easily 
take to the mountains, where it was difficult 
to follow them. On one of their forays Tom 
Jaycox and Pete Halliday had got wind of 
my whereabouts, and, with several of the gang, 
including the man I had shot, had gone down 
to look after rae. The country in and about 
Huntsville was too civilized for open assassi- 
nation, and Jaycox, after the failure of the 
attempt on my life, had procured my arrest 



94 SWEET REVENGE 

as a spy. Then followed the plan to kidnap 
me and force me into a pa^'^ment of money 
before the final revenge. 

We bivouacked where we had met the band 
on the plateau, under the trees that waved 
above us, their sprouting leaves lighted up by 
our camp-fire. I lay awake the greater part 
of the night, watching for an opportunity to 
escape, but one sentry after another was placed 
over me, and morning came without my hav- 
ing made the attempt. 

At sunrise we moved northward as on the 
day before, my captors still keeping a strict 
watch over me. During the day Ja3'^cox 
pushed on in advance ; why, 1 did not know, 
but surmised that his going had something to 
do with the plan to plunder me. 

The mountains seemed deserted. Not a 
human being did we see save two women 
and a negro, all on horseback, travelling in 
the same direction as ourselves. I caught 
several glimpses of them, though always at 
a distance, and wondered how it was that 
" poor white trash," to which class they ap- 
peared to belong, could afford the attendance 
of a slave. 

When we halted for the night, which we 



FIENDS 95 

did about five o'clock in the afternoon, the 
captain came up to me and told me they were 
going to take me to a point near my old home, 
Knoxville, where I would be required to sign 
a check for a large amount — all they could 
squeeze out of me ; but if there were not suffi- 
cient funds to my credit in the bank, I must 
execute papers that would enable him to con- 
vert property into money. If I would do as 
he wished he would set me free. This I knew" 
to be a lie ; the gang would find a pretext to 
murder me whether I signed the document or 
not. 

He left me sitting on the ground, leaning 
against a log, contemplating the horrors of my 
situation. If I did not pay my ransom I 
should be murdered ; if I paid it I should be 
murdered ; it was Hobson's choice. I made 
up my mind that I would attempt to escape, 
get shot, and thus end a situation that was in- 
flicting on me a mental torture far greater 
than any physical pain mortal ever endured. 

Casting my eyes inadvertently towards the 
road, I saw two women passing northward, 
and in another moment recognized them as 
those I had noticed on the march. To my sur- 
prise, one of them turned and rode towards us ; 



96 SWEET REV^ENGE 

the other hesitated, started on, turned, and 
followed her companion. I noticed something 
familiar about their figures. The coarse text- ' 
ure of their jackets and gowns, and their un- 
becoming sunbonnets were out of keeping 
with their graceful carriage. " If these women 
knew," I thought, "that they w^ere entering a 
guerrilla camp they would be stricken with 
terror.'' When they reached a point a dozen 
yards distant they paused, the one in advance 
calling, in a harsh voice : 

" Can you uns tell us how fa' 'tis t' Tracy ?" 
Then, beneath the homely check bonnet, 
through the olive darkening of her complex- 
ion, under the cheap calico, I recognized 
Helen Stanforth. Her quadroon companion 
was none other than my fascinating little 
friend who had saved rae from the impetuous 
wrath of Captain Beaumont — Jaqueline Rut- 
land. 

Had a pair of angels come down from 
heaven and lit on my shoulders I could not 
have been more astonished. I rubbed my 
eyes, thinking that my vision deceived me ; but 
when I looked again there was Helen sittino: 
on her horse, chatting with the guerrillas as if 
they were ordinary persons, making common- 



FIENDS 97 

place remarks in excellent dialect, with which 
a lonof residence near the mountains had made 
her familiar. Jaqueline remained a short 
distance behind her. For a while I feared 
that Jaqueline would betray them both, 
for I could see that she was trembling. But 
presently all terror seemed to leave her. She 
rode up beside Helen and began to chaff the 
men, at once attracting the attention of the 
whole band. 

" Yo're a likely gal," said one of them. " Git 
down offen that critter and stay awhile." 

" Couldn't think on 't." 

" Oh yes, y' kin." And he walked up and 
took hold of her bridle-rein. 

"Yo' Jim Canfield," cried the captain, "let 
that gyrl alone !" 

The captain advanced and invited the two 
visitors to alight, promising that they should 
be respected. Jaqueline gave him a grateful 
look as he helped her off her horse with far 
more gallantry than might have been expected 
from the leader of this gang of ruffians. In- 
deed, there was something in his bearing to 
make me suspect that this bandit captain — 
Ringold they called him, though I suspect the 
name was assumed — was an unworthy mem- 



98 SWEET REVENGE 

ber of some good Southern f;unil3^ who had 
disgraced himself Avith his peers and become a 
leader of those w^ho were, hke himself, devoid 
of principle, but in other ways his inferiors. 
Jaqueline must have divined as much, for no 
sooner was she on terra firma than she slipped 
her arm through his and clung to him confid- 
ingly. Pete Halliday, who seemed to be the 
next member of the band in importance after 
the captain, awkwardly attempted to gain 
some mark of her favor, but Jaqueline, with 
woman's quick intuition, knew that if any one 
was to be relied on it Avas Ringold, and de- 
clined attention from any other. 

" Who ar' yo' ? Whar did yo' come from ? 
What yo' doen' hyar?" she asked, in her usual 
quick way. " Hain't yo' goen' t' join our boys 
'n' fight fo' th' ' Bonny Blue Flag'f 

The captain looked a bit uncomfortable, and, 
as she had asked several questions to which a 
reply w^ould be in order, he replied to none. 

"Can't yo' sing the 'Bonny Blue Flag' fo' 
'em, Jack ?" asked Helen. " Reckon yo'd like 
ter hear her," she added to the group ; " she's 
right smart at singen'." 

"Reckon," said Jack. "D' y' want ter 
hear 't ?" 



FIENDS 99 

The men were too stupid, or, rather, had not 
the politeness, to say they did. They stood and 
gaped. Jack, who I could easily see, under 
her enforced gayety, was badly frightened, 
made a desperate effort and began to sing, but 
her voice was so thin and trembling that I 
thought every moment slie would break down. 
However, when she came to the last stanza she 
had regained something of confidence, and. 
ended the song pretty well. 

She had scarcely finished when we heard a 
picking of banjo strings. I looked up and saw 
a boy and a negro advancing towards us. I 
was not long in recognizing Buck and Ginger, 
the latter thrumming the instrument as he 
came on. 

"AVhars a house fo' t' git supper?" called 
the boy. 

" Dunno ; hunt yer own supper," replied one 
of the men. 

" Hain't you uns got nothen' thar V spar' ?" 
" Reckon ; but we hain't goen' ter spar' 't." 
Buck started towards the camp, and Ginger 
followed him. 

" I'm a-taken'this nigger t' Spart}^; he's sold." 
" Hain't y' got that nigger off en yo' hands 
yit ?" called Pete Halliday. 



100 SWEET REVENGE 

Buck looked at the speaker in assumed sur- 
prise. " Wal, now, you uns mus' be tli' men we 
met yistid'y Hain't yo' got yo' man offen yo' 
iiands yit ?" 

A grin passed over the faces of the men. 

"Don't yer mind 'bout that man," replied 
Pete Halliday, " er yer'll git inter trouble." 

"Whar does the nigger b'long?" asked the 
captain. 

" I'm taken' him ter Sparty." 

" Y' don't keep him under close watch," said 
Pete. 

" Oh, he hain't no runaway nigger. He's 
got me in charge 's much 's I got him. He's 
b'longed to the fambly since befo' I was 
borned." 

By this time the travellers had reached the 
camp. Buck's intelligent face contrasting with 
the stupid look which the negro was assum- 
ing. 

The man who cooked for the band was 
busying himself preparing supper. With one 
accord the two girls took hold to help him. 
He at once dropped his implements and gave 
way, while all stood gaping at the unusual 
sight of two women who, unasked, were cook- 
ing a meal for them. Helen occupied herself 



FIENDS 101 

over the fire and managed an iron sicillet— the 
only coolcing utensil in camp — as dexterously 
as a chef. Jack took the tin dishes that com- 
posed the kit and "set the table," an act hith- 
erto unknown at guerrilla meals. Then, when 
supper Avas read}-^, they insisted upon waiting 
on the men. No one objected to this save the 
captain, who, by his protest, a second time in- 
dicated that he had seen better days and knew 
something of deference to women. 

The meal ended, the girls insisted on wash- 
ing the dishes. When there was no more 
work to do. Jack sang out : 

" Clar th' way, you uus, 'n I'll give yo' a 
dance !" 



X 
A DANCE FOR A LIFE 

The proposition was received with shouts 
of approval. 

" Yo' don't mean yo' kin dance ?" 

"Keckon." 

" Good gal ! Clar th' way fo' a dance !" 

" Yo' nigger, tune that banjo ! 'T's lucky 
fo' yo' y' got 't, strings 'n' all, er we'd 'a' made 
strings outen yer hide." 

The camp was on a circular piece of hard 
ground so cut off from tlie sun by surrounding 
trees and bushes that no grass grew. The few 
scattered sprouts were soon cleared away ; 
Ginger sat down on the log which lay near 
by, twanged his banjo, tightening or loosening 
a string, and then gave a preliminary flourish. 

Jaqueline took off her sunbonnet, threw it 
a few feet away, and stepped on to the clear- 
ing. There was mingled fear and defiance in 
her face that set mv heart to fluttering. 



A DANCE FOR A LIFE 103 

Though I did not know she was carrying- out 
a jDreconcerted plan, somehow it got into my 
head that she was about to dance for my hberty 
— in other Avords, for my life. The thought 
maddened me. An impulse seized me to throw 
off the mask and defy the whole band. Helen, 
seeing the desperate resolve expressed in my 
face, gave me a look, partly imploring, partl}^ 
commanding, that recalled me to a sense of 
my helplessness. 

Jaqueline began sailing about, keeping 
time to Ginger's music, moving hither and 
thither with uncertain steps, as a bird will flit 
back and forth before darting away in its 
flight, or as a musician will sweep his fingers 
over a harp before beginning his melody. 
Gradually the music grew quicker, and Jack, 
gathering confidence, forgot everything but 
the dance. 

Since the entry of the two girls into the 
camp I had suffered one terror after another 
in quick succession, and now it struck me 
that in case Jack succeeded in fascinating this 
lawless group, some of them, fired with a desire 
of possession, would break through all restraint. 
I had been wonder-struck that two defence- 
less mrls should dare to come anions' them. 



104 SWEET EEVENGE 

and now I was stupefied that Jack should 
dance before them and that Helen should per- 
mit her to do so. But who shall measure the 
strength of woman's Aveakness? Mother Nat- 
ure had taught Jack and Helen their power, 
and they went about their work with not a 
tithe of the fright that possessed me. 

Meanwhile Jaqueline had drifted into the 
dance, and was whirling, bending, floating, ev- 
ery muscle alive Avith its especial motion. At 
times she would lull, poise herself for a mo- 
ment, then, like a fitful wind, start again with 
renewed fervor. At no time could there be 
discovered aught but delicate refinement in 
her movements, and now it Avas her pur- 
pose to attract Avithout exciting her specta- 
tors. Stimulated by frequent bursts of ap- 
plause and by the rapt attention of the men 
surrounding her, she found her main in- 
centive in a far deeper, nobler motive — feeling, 
as she did, the critical situation, the dread re- 
sponsibility for a human life resting upon 
her. 

"What a singular scene? The ring of ugly 
faces momentarily softened by the sight of 
grace and beauty ; the captain, his sharp 
face turninir with the dancer and following 



A DANCE FOK A LIFE 105 

her wherever she goes ; Pete Halliday, stand- 
ing with folded arms, lowering from under the 
broad brim of his sombrero, grinding his quid ; 
Ginger's black face gleaming with pride at 
furnishing the music for his young mistress, 
inspiring her with his own inspired melody; 
little Buck, standing between two lank guer- 
rillas in " butternut," staring at his cousin, 
and forgetful of her danger in his interest in 
her work ; Helen Stanforth, standing apart, her 
strong face wearing the expression of a general 
who watches a cavalry charge intended to turn 
a position on which hangs the fate of the day. 
The guerrillas, not one of whom would hes- 
itate to slit a throat at the slightest prospect 
of gain, were watching the little soubrette, 
not only with admiration but with respect. 
Once during her performance one of the men 
applauded with a ribald remark. He was 
standing by the captain, who stretched his 
arm, brought it down with a backward stroke, 
and sent the man sprawling. Jaqueline saw 
the act and the approving looks of the out- 
laws, who Avere in no mood to have their 
sport interrupted. The color left her cheeks, 
but she kept right on, and the episode passed 
without farther consequences. 



106 SWEET REVENGE 

At a moment when the attention of the 
men had become riveted upon the dancer, 
Plelen, who had been gradually working her 
way from the group towards me, came and 
sat down on the log behind Ginger, Avhere she 
was partially screened by him. Watching her 
opportunity, she deftly took a revolver from 
her pocket and concealed it in the folds of 
her dress. With her eyes fixed upon the 
group about Jack, she waited for a burst of 
applause, and Avhen it came, reaching back 
she dropped the weapon behind the log at my 
feet ; then, rising, rejoined the circle. I pushed 
the revolver under the log with the toe of my 
boot, then kicked dust and leaves over it. 
This accomplished, I breathed the most com- 
fortable sigh of relief I have ever drawn in 
my life. The whole situation seemed changed 
by that little dust-covered combination of bits 
of metal. Stooping, I shpped it into the leg 
of my boot, and felt that half the battle was 
won. 

At that moment the setting sun came out 
from behind a cloud and shot lances of light 
through the trees, covering the group — the 
beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad, 
the refined and the vulgar — with gilded splen- 



A DANCE FOR A LIFE 107 

dor. I saw but Jaqueline. The usual fitful- 
ness of lier disposition, her natural expression 
of careless indifference, had given place to a se- 
rious intensity denoting a great purpose. Pois- 
ing herself between two movements, the gild- 
ing rays shone on her forehead. Then dart- 
ing on her toes to another part of the ring, a 
quick succession of lights and shades passed 
over her brow — a glittering- diadem of sun- 
flashes. Truly God is a wonderful artist, since 
He can touch even a dance Avitli celestial pu- 
rity. 

Helen Stanforth turned to me. PulIinfT' her 

c> 

sunbonnet forward so as to conceal her face 
from the others — though the}'" were too intent 
on Jaqueline to notice her — she moved her 
lips, and though no sound came I knew she 
intended the word : 

"Go!" 

ISTear me was a tree ; not far from that 
another ; underbrush, bushes — just the cover 
through which to make a retreat. I could 
easily get down behind the log,^ crawl into the 
thicket, and awa3\ Now for the first time the 
purpose of dear little Jaqueline was full}^ ap- 
parent. 

But how could I leave these friends who bad 



108 SWEET REVENGE 

risked so much, accomplished so much, for me ? 
I stood still and shook my head. 

Ao:ain Helen looked an order for me to ofo. 

" I^ot without the others," I whispered. 

Sittino: down on the log- so as to be nearer 
to me, she replied, in a low voice : 

"We will leave here when you are safely 
away. She will dance on to keep them from 
knowing you have gone. We have planned 
it so." 

" They will know you connived at ray escape 
and murder you." 

"Why should they? Go at once, or I shall 
consider you an ingrate." 

She looked so anxious, they had all made 
such a noble eifort in my behalf, that I could 
not find it in my heart to disappoint them. 

I slipped behind the tree, dropped to the 
ground, and wriggled like a snake through the 
underbrush ; then, rising, darted away. 

A dozen yards — fifty — a hundred. The 
music of Ginger's banjo dies as suddenly as the 
clang of a bell on a passing engine. Will one 
minute or five pass before I am missed ? A 
distant burst of applause — God bless the dear 
little dancer ! Before me is an open space, then 
a dense clump of trees. If I can reach that 



A DANCPJ FOR A LIFE 109 

thicket I can make a quick digression, and this 
ma}^ throw my pursuers off my track. 

A confusion of yells — a bullet whistling by 
my ear. I reach the wood and push on through 
it, not daring to lose distance by digression 
with an enemy close behind me. My feet 
becoming' entanoled in a vine, I stumble and 
fall. A weight comes down on me, crushing 
the breath out of me. It is all over. 

Panting, bleeding, white as a ghost, I am 
led back to the guerrilla camp. 

" Shoot him !" 

" Gimme a rope oifen that pack-mule!" 

" Tie him on a critter *n' send him down the 
mounting !" 

A babel of brutal suggestions came from the 
different members of the band, sounding to 
me, stunned as I was, like final random shots 
at the slaughter of a " forlorn hope." Amid 
the clamor I saw but one sight — Helen and 
Jack locked in each other's arms, paraWzed 
with terror. 

"Stand back, men!" cried the captain, push- 
ing his way towards me. " Have y' forgot the 
money ?" 

" Stand back !" roared Halliday. " He be- 
longs to me 'n' Tom Jaycox. We tuk him." 



.110 SWEET REVENGE 

The captain's authorit}', thus supported, 
saved me from immediate death. The men 
who were crowding around me gave way, a 
cord was brought, and my wrists and ankles 
were securely bound. No one seemed to sus- 
pect that Jack's dance had anything to do with 
my flight, except that I had taken advantage 
of the relaxed vigilance to make the attempt. 
Having tied me, the}^ threw me to the ground, 
Halliday giving me a parting kick ; a man Avas 
deputed to watch me, and the band, accus- 
tomed to such episodes, left me, to turn again 
to what was far more interesting to them. 



STEALING THE GTJNS 

Jaquelixe once more became an object 
of undivided interest. The men crowded 
about her, staring at her, uttering exclama- 
tions of admiration, vainly seeking a way 
to do her honor. Presently they cut sap- 
linffs, out of which thev constructed a rude 
chair, decorating it with twigs, and one ill- 
favored bandit, to whom nature had impart- 
ed a spark of art, gathered Avild flowers with 
which to put on finishing touches. When the 
seat was completed, the men looked awkward- 
ly at Jack, and the captain, presenting the 
tips of his fingers, led her to her improvised 
throne. Helen, Avho at the first sign that I 
was to be temporarily spared had recovered 
her equanimit}" and had infused some of her 
restored courage into Jack, saw at once the 
advantage of keeping up her cousin's popu- 
larity. Seizing some of the flowers, she Avove 



112 SWEET KEVENGE 

them on a framework of green twigs into a 
circular garland, and insisted on crowning the 
favorite — not Queen of May, for Ma}^ had not 
yet come, but queen of a month far more ap- 
propriate — April. 

Bv this time night had come on, a roarino; 
fire was lighted, and the guerrillas, forming a 
ring of which Jack was the gem, threw them- 
selves on the ground and listened to her chat, 
her songs, her stories, their lirelighted faces 
standing out of the gloom in grim contrast 
with her refined beauty. The captain, with 
his superior breeding, served as a link between 
her and his men, keeping them in check and 
stimulating their admiration by his own. If 
Jack flagged for a moment between her stories 
and her songs Helen was quick to suggest new 
ones, and occasionally both were relieved by 
little Buck, who Avould throw in some quaint 
remark typical of that peculiar creature — the 
American boy. 

So long as the songs and stories lasted there 
was nothing to precipitate trouble, but the en- 
tertainment could not go on all night, and I 
began to dread the moment when the girls 
should attempt to take their departure. Pres- 
ently Helen, in a firm voice, said : 



STEALING THE GUNS 113 

" Come, it's time for us to go.'' 

Shouts of "No!" "A dance!" "A song!" 
greeted the proposition, and the guerrillas be- 
gan to form in groups to resist an exit. Helen, 
selecting the noisiest knot of men, drew a revol- 
ver from her pocket, and, cocking it, moved 
towards them with her eyes fixed upon them, 
calm and stead\^ Whether it Avas that they 
were cowed by the weapon, or admired this 
evidence of woman's pluck, they opened a way. 
The captain, seizing the opportunity, quick- 
ly took Jack by the hand and led her after 
her cousin. Once beyond the ring, he as- 
sisted the girls to mount, then, mounting 
himself, the three rode away, followed by a 
cheer. As for me, I breathed one long sigh 
of relief. 

" "Well, Ginger," said Buck, " reckon ef we 
uns 're gocn' to git to Sparty to-morrer we'll 
have to travel all night." 

" Is th' nigger taken' you to Sparty or air 
you taken' the nigger?" asked one of the men. 

" Dat ain't gwine to mak' no differ," said 
Ginger. " Mars' Buck 'n' 1 don' never hab no 
trouble. Mars' Buck, he's my mars' till I gits 
to de new one." 

Buck led his horse to the log and mounted, 



114 SWEET KEVENGE 

giving me a significant look, as much as to say, 
" I won't desert you," then rode away, follow- 
ed by Ginger, with the remark : 

" Good-bye, yo' fellers; much 'bliged fo' the 
good time." 

The restraint of the girls' presence being no 
longer felt, the men's behavior changed in a 
twinkling. The captain's absence left Pete 
Halliday — the worst man in the gang — free 
to foment trouble, and he began to do so by 
sneering at his chief for being brought, as 
he expressed it, under petticoat government. 
There appeared to be two factions in the band 
— the one headed b}^ Halliday or Jaycox, the 
other by Captain Ringold. Halliday set 
about instigating the guerrillas, or, rather, his 
adherents, to go after Helen and Jack, and 
brinir them back for another dance. To make 
matters worse, one of the men found some ap- 
ple-jack, and it was not long before the gang 
w^ere half drunk. Meanwhile the captain re- 
turned, and received a hearty cursing from 
Halliday and his adherents. Several of them 
started to bring back the girls, but Ringold 
drew upon them and threatened to shoot them 
unless they returned. They staggered back, 
grumbling, and the captain adroitly proposed 



STEALING THE GUNS 115 

another pull at the apple-jack. This di- 
verted them, and, after finishing the liquor, 
one after another sank into a drunken slum- 
ber. 

It. was midnight. Every member of the 
band was asleep, save the man who was de- 
puted to guard me. He was sitting on a piece 
of fire-wood, so placed that he could watch me 
across the flame. I lay on my back looking 
up at the stars and feather-like clouds that 
now and again floated across the great blue 
dome, — the only motion apparent, save the 
tree-tops bending under an occasional breeze. 
The fire flickered, the guard nodded, an owl 
in the distance gave an occasional hoot. 

I heard something stir in the underbrush. 
Glancino: aside, I saw a small light disk over 
a bush. It was the face of little Buck. 

Now, in the name of all the gods, will those 
devoted friends never oive over riskin"' tlieir 
lives in these useless attempts i What is to 
happen now ? I scowled an order to the boy 
to go away, but he paid no attention to it. 
Somethina: came slidins' alouii- the o^round and 
lodged against me. The guard heard it, start- 
ed, cast a quick glance at me, then about him, 
but, seeing nothing, relapsed into his former 



116 SWEET REVENGE 

quietude. I felt for what had struck me, and 
clasped a jack-knife. 

Meanwhile Buck disappeared, but, soon ap- 
pearing again in his place, held up a carbine. 
He had doubtless stolen it from one of the men 
who slept on the edge of the circle about the 
lire. Again he disappeared, and I watched 
eagerly for his return. The guard was still 
awake, though nodding, but had he been more 
watchful he would not likely have discovered 
Buck, for the underbrush, both where the boy 
appeared to me and where it skirted the sleep- 
ing guerrillas, was so thick that in passing 
around the camp he was coraparativ^ely safe 
from observation. Besides, for most of the 
distance Buck traversed in his gun foray the 
guard's back was towards him. 

I Avatch the point where Buck's head ap- 
peared, expecting to see it again, but in its 
stead presently see two white points. Strain- 
ing my eyes, 1 discern the whites of two e3'es, 
then a black face. 

It is Ginger. 

A white hne appears directly below the 
e3'es, and I know Ginger is showing his teeth 
in a smile. He raises his arm, and, behold ! 
another gun. Again a white line of teeth. 



STEALING THE GUNS 117 

and he puts the weapon down. Five, ten, fif- 
teen minutes elapse. Ginger holds his ground. 
Has he gone to sleep? No. Another five 
minutes, and he holds np another gun. Ah, I 
see ;' little Buck, with cat-like tread, is gath- 
ering^ in the arms. That's well ; he is far bet- 
ter fitted for such delicate work than a stiff 
old negro. 

This little pantomime begins to take shape 
in my mind, and brings anticipations of more 
than a fight for my own life. If I can escape, 
and Buck and Ginger secure sufficient arms, 
it may be possible for all our party to get 
together and make a defence. I must tell 
Ginger to get some ammunition. But with a 
guard looking straight at me it is no easy 
task to convey an order by signs, and that to 
a stupid negro. Catching sight of a small 
stone beside me, 1 put out my hand, yawning 
to conceal my intention, let it fall on the 
stone, and soon have it between the knuckle 
of my thumb and the point of my forefin- 
ger, as a boy holds a marble. AYatching till 
the guard's head is turned, looking meaningly 
at Ginger, I fire the stone a short distance, 
hoping he will understand the word " ammu- 
nition." His face is a blank ; it is evident 



118 SWEET RliVENGE 

that he does not know what I mean, and there 
is no prospect of his getting it through his 
thick skull. 

Ginger turned away, and I knew that he 
was speaking to his young master ; then 
Buck's white face showed itself inquiringly 
behind the negro's black one. I looked mean- 
ingly at Buck, and repeated tiie motion of fir- 
ing. He caught my meaning, and, taking up a 
gun, made a motion as if ramming a cartridge, 
looking at me inquiringly. I indicated that he 
was right. He went awa\% and after a long 
absence came back and held up four cartridge- 
boxes, two in each hand. Then, putting down 
the boxes, he held up three fingers, and I knew 
that they had secured three guns. He next 
held up four fingers of the other hand, point- 
ing to the sleeping guerrillas, and I knew he 
proposed to get one more gun. 

Buck was a long while capturing the fourth 
gun. One of the men awoke, j'^awned, sat up, 
and looked into the fire ; yawned again, lay 
down, and was soon snoring. Then the guard 
got up from where he was sitting. There was 
a slight sound in the bushes, and he listened 
attentively. Then he put some wood on the 
tire and sat down again. He had scarcely 



STEALING THE GUNS 119 

seated himself before Ginger held up the 
fourth gun. 

I moved slightl}^, showing ray friends by 
my manner that I was about to try to get 
away. They appeared to understand and 
gathered up the guns, Buck taking one and 
Ginger three, doing all so silently that no 
sound reached even me. I waited, watchino- 
the guard intently till he should nod. I had 
no expectation of his going to sleep ; I only 
hoped to free myself from my thongs be- 
fore he would discover my movement. He 
nodded ; I moved ; he opened his eyes ; I 
snored ; he nodded again ; I grasped the knife. 
Thoughtful Buck ! he had opened the blade. 
Drawing up my knees I cut the ropes that 
bound my ankles, then felt in my boot-leg for 
the revolver. I was about to cock it when I 
remembered that the guard would hear the 
click. I thought I would conceal the sound 
by a sneeze, but a sneeze might disturb some 
of the band. The owl, which had for some 
time been silent, hooted. It usually gave 
three hoots in succession. I counted — one, two, 
and at the third cocked mv revolver. Throuo-h 
my half-closed lids I cast a glance at the guard. 
His eyes were shut. I looked significantly at 



120 SWEET REVENGE 

Buck and Ginger to show them that I was 
ready, then motioned them to go. Waiting 
long enough for them to put a few hundred 
yards between them and tlie camp, and no- 
ticing that the guard's eyes were still shut, I 
prepared to follow. 

Rising slowly and silently, keeping my eyes 
fixed on the man by the fire, raising my re- 
volver, and taking as good an aim as possible 
witli bound wrists, I stood on my feet. One 
step backward; then another; a third, a fourth, 
a fifth, a sixth. I had reached the bushes 
where Buck and Ginger had been concealed, 
and was about to take one more step which 
would secure concealment when the guard 
opened his eyes and looked straight at me. 

Surprise Avas his last emotion, my figure 
the last sight he ever saw. I shot him through 
the head, and before the report had ceased to 
reverberate was in the bushes. 



XII 
A DAYLIGHT ATTACK 

Despite the thickness of the surrounding 
underbrush, I made quick progress. Jumping 
clean over bushes, darting around trees and 
under low limbs, after running some two hun- 
dred yards from the guerrilla camp I came to 
a comparatively open space. Seeing a figure 
standins: within it, and surmisino: it to be one 
of my friends, I was about to call, when a 
woman's voice cried "Halt!" I knew that I 
Avas covei'ed by a weapon, and stopped short. 

"Are you — " 

" Yes ; and you ?" 

" Helen. This way." 

She darted away like a deer. I soon over- 
took her, and together we ran perhaps half a 
mile, when she began to climb an ascent lead- 
ing to the base of an overhanf!:ino- cliff. I saw 
through the gloom a large and a small figure 
climbing just ahead of us, and knew they were 



122 SWEET REVENGE 

Ginger and Buck. Helen led the way up to a 
recess in the cliff, and I saw at once a position 
that we could hold against a dozen men so 
long as we had food and ammunition. 

" Hello !" It was Jack's cheery voice. 
" Goody ! Ain't I glad to get out o' the wil- 
derness !" 

" 7'm glad enough," I said, as soon as I could 
get breath to speak; "but you women — " 

There was no time for words. We set about 
rolling a big stone into a gap between two 
others, and as soon as it was in position had a 
continuous breastwork. The guerrillas were 
callino- to each other in the woods below, but 
they did not seem to know where we were. I 
picked up one of the guns Ginger had thrown 
down. Buck had one in his hands, Ginger kept 
one, and Helen seized the remaining one. 

"Where do /come in?" chirped Jack. 

"Here." I handed her the revolver, in which 
there were five loaded chambers, and told her 
to hold on to it, as she would doubtless need 
it. We all took position beliind our breast- 
works ready to ropel an assault, at the same 
time seeing to the condition of our pieces. 
They were cavalry carbines, all loaded and 
capped ready for use. 



A DAYLIGHT ATTACK 123 

" Where are your horses ?" I asked. 

" Picketed down there," Helen repHed, point- 
ing westward, " in a thicket not far from the 
road." 

" Have you anything to eat ?" 

She glanced at a parcel on the ground. " I 
got that in a cabin. There's some corn-pone 
and pork." 

"Barely enough for one meal. Any 
water?" 

"There's some water trickling between the 
rocks back there." 

" That pone and pork means a chance, but 
it's a slim one." 

Helen set her lips ; Jack turned pale; Ginger 
showed no emotion whatever; while Buck re- 
marked that he'd be " darned if he didn't plunk 
one of 'em, anyway." As for m3'self, I was 
aghast at the terrible fate that threatened 
those who had so nobl}' and so bravely risked 
all in my behalf. 

" What brought you here ?" I asked, impa- 
tiently, of Helen. 

" When 3'ou were taken from our house I 
resolved to follow. Buck came in just as I 
started, and insisted on joining me. We traced 
you to Colonel Rutland's plantation — " 



124 SWEET REVENGE 

" I see ; it was you I heard coming in after 
I went iip-stairs." 

" Ginger took the horses to the stable, and 
was returning to the house when he saw two 
men chmb a tree near your window and enter 
your room. He watched from a distance and 
saw them bring you out, but lie could not tell 
whether they were taking you away by force 
or assisting you to escape. Coming into tlie 
house, he told us what had happened. 

"Jack started to awaken Captain Beaumont, 
but I stopped her. If you had been assisted 
to escape this would be fatal ; besides, from 
what Jack had told me of the captain, I judged 
he would have his night's rest before starting 
in pursuit. I told Jack I would follow you 
myself, and she was wild to come Avith me. 
Ginger had seen you leave the plantation, and 
knew the direction you had taken. We sent 
him and Buck ahead, and they soon came near 
enough to you to hear your horses' hoof -beats ; 
then waited for us to come up. Soon after 
we lost track of you, but hearing something 
come crashing down the mountain—" 

" A stone." 

" We followed the direction of the sound. 
In the early morning Buck and Ginger came 



A DAYLIGHT ATTACK 125 

upon \'ou unexpectedly. As soon as you had 
gone the}^ rejoined us, we shadowed you, and 
3'esterday afternoon laid a plan for your es- 
cape." 

"• A wild, impracticable scheme. One cir- 
cumstance has led to another, each involvinsr 
you more deeply. My God, what a load of 
obligation ! We can't stay here ; we'll starve. 
Buck, couldn't you slip out in the darkness and 
find help ?" 

" No, siree ; I'm not goen' out o' hyar. I'm 
goen' t' stay 'n' fight with the rest." 

" But you may save all our lives." 

" Why don't you go, Mr. Brandystone ?" 

" I ? I must stay with your sister and cous- 
in. Besides, I'm big, and couldn't get through 
as easily as you." 

" Well, I ain't a-goen' to sneak away if I am 
little." 

" Buck}^" said Jack, "■ yo' needn't go ; I'll 
go myself." 

" You don' do nuffin like dat. Missy Jack," 
cried Ginger ; " deni grillers shoot y' ! Wha' 
mars' say ef I go back an' tell 'em de apple ob 
he eye go down 'mong grillers fo' to git shot, 
/gwine, mars'," he added to me. 

But bv this time there was more callinef 



126 SWEET KEVENGE 

among the men below, a streak of light ap- 
peared in the east, and I did not dare let any 
one attempt to evade the enemy ; besides, I 
could now see by the lay of the land that it 
would be impossible. 

Something must have given the guerrillas 
an inkling of our whereabouts, for as soon as it 
was light we could see them standing, looking 
up at our position. I told every one to lie low, 
hoping that some of the outlaws woidd climb 
up to investigate, and we might pick them off. 
For more than an hour we remained concealed, 
onl}^ speaking in whispers ; then we saw the 
knot of men below divide, three going to the 
Avest, three to the east, while three began to 
climb towards our fortress. One remained be- 
low, and as the light increased I saw it was 
the captain. 

We four who were armed Avith carbines 
knelt behind the rocks, I to the extreme left, 
Helen next, then Buck behind the stone we 
had moved to fill the gap, with Ginger bring- 
ing up the right end of the line. I was an ex- 
cellent shot — I had long been considered one 
of the best in Tennessee — and it turned out 
that Helen was not bad. (xingcr was no shot 
at all. I selected the man in advance for my 



A DAYLIGHT ATTACK 127 

especial object, designated the second for Hel- 
en, and gave Buck the third. They were to 
fire after me in the order named. Ginger was 
to fire at any who might be left standing. 
Jack had only a revolver, and I directed her to 
keep back. She was trembling, and in order 
to strengthen her bv concentrating her mind 
on some duty, I told her to be ready to hand 
us the ammunition after the first volley. 

The guerrillas came on, every man holding 
a carbine. When they had covered a third of 
the distance I saw that Buck was about to 
fire out of turn, and 1 was obliged to speak to 
him somewhat sharply. I think the advanc- 
ing men heard me, for they stopped and con- 
sulted. The captain, standing below, called to 
them to go on, and, separating so as to leave a 
dozen yards between each man, skirmish-fash- 
ion, they started again, watching eagerly for a 
sight of something to fire at. As they were 
all abreast, my order for firing would not 
serve. 1 gave another. 

'' ril take the left man, Miss Stanforth the 
centre. Buck the right." 

There was no response. All were too intent 
on the work before us to speak. I permitted 
the men to come within a hundred yards, 



128 SWEET REVENGE 

when, taking deliberate aim with a rest, I 
shot my man through the heart. In another 
moment Helen's rifle cracked, and the centre 
man dropped. Buck, who was excited, fired 
wild, and missed altogether. Ginger lost his 
head completely, and did not fire at all. As 
Ginger's courage deserted him, Jack's came 
to her all of a sudden. 

" Why don't y' shoot. Ginger ?" she cried, 
with flashing e3'es. Snatching his gun and 
aiming it at the remaining man, who was rap- 
idly getting down the declivity, she sent him 
the rest of the way wath a limp. Two men 
were put out of the fight and the third disabled. 

" By golly !" cried Buck, " we licked 'em, 
didn't we ?'' 

I thought it best not to discourage him by 
telling him that this was only a preliminary 
skirmish, but asked Jack for the ammunition, 
and we all reloaded. 

The wounded man went back to the cap- 
tain, who appeared greatly agitated over the 
result. He was evidently surprised at the 
reception of his searching-party. The men 
who had gone to the flanks, hearing the firing, 
rejoined their leader, and two men who had 
been in the rear came forward. 



A DAYLIGHT ATTACK 129 

Heaven preserve us ! The captain has start- 
ed up the slope at the head of a stormhig- 
party of eight men. 

I was appalled. We had but four guns, and 
after firing]: a vollev must reload before tirini^ 
another. We could not expect to disable more 
than four men at the first fire, then the re- 
maining four Avould be upon us before we 
could reload. In quick tones I gave the 
order : 

" All load ; I'll fire." 

With that I let drive, and dropped a man. 
Then, throwing down my gun, I took Helen's, 
and dropped another. Buck handed me his, 
and I dropped a third. 

" By jirainy !" cried Buck, exposing his 
head to see better, " ain't yo' a bully shot !'' 
Ping! went a bullet within an inch of his ear, 
and he ducked. 

" Keep down !" I cried, as the lead rattled 
against the rocks in front of us, and fired the 
fourth gun, again hitting my man, though I 
only " winged " him ; indeed, I believe he 
dropped to evade the fire. By this time the 
first gun had been reloaded, and I took aim at 
the captain. I was sure I hit him, but he 
came on. Taking the next gun now ready 



130 SWEET EEVENGE 

I fired at him again, but just as I did so one 
of the men ste})ped in front of him and re- 
ceived the shot. This finished the assault. 
The men broke and tied, and before I could 
get another shot were far back towards the 
position from which they had started. 



XIII 
BELEAGUERED 

Strange that men will never learn the ter- 
rible advantage of a force posted on an im- 
pregnable position, protected by breastworks, 
and able to pour shot down a steep hill at an 
enemy. Two men, two girls, and a boy had 
defeated the guerrillas and sent them back to 
their camp. I did not fear another attack. 
What I dreaded was starvation ; indeed, I 
could see plainly that our enemies were pre- 
paring to carr}^ out tlie starvation plan. Sev- 
eral of them went in different directions, 
doubtless for food. One of them passed quite 
within range. 

" Tm goen' t' plunk that one," said Buck. 

I caught his arm and gave him a reproof 
which for a while, at least, caused him to re- 
member that I was in command. 

" I wish they'd attack us again," said the 
irrepressible boy. " I could 'a' hit that dog- 



132 SWEET KEVENGE 

gone ' butternut ' if somep'n hadn't joggled my 
arm." 

There had been nothing to joggle the boy's 
arm, but I thought it best to let him keep up 
his pride ; it would make him more serviceable ; 
so I said nothing. 

" I aimed right at the middle of his breast," 
continued Buck, " but just then he jumped 
over a stone and I missed him." 

"I thought some one joggled your arm?" 

" Some one did. Ginger, yo' consarned old 
nigger, what d' yo' go joggle me fo', just as I 
was goen' to plunk him ?" 

"/didn't joggle yo', Mars' Buck." 

" Was it you, Ilel'n ?" 

" No." 

" Somebody did, or I'd 'a' hit him, sho !" 

If ever a party needed breakfast it was ours. 
Helen unrolled the little parcel of provisions. 
I directed her to serve a half ration, or, rather, 
half of what there was, and save the rest. 
She did so, handing me my portion, which I 
declined, but she argued that it was important 
for all that I should keep up my strength, 
and finally prevailed on me to eat my share. 
Jaqueline and Buck ate theirs ravenously. 
Each of us went to where the water was drip- 



BELEAGUERED 133 

ping from the cleft and caught the drops in 
our mouths. Buck, when he had finished his 
breakfast, like Oliver Twist, asked for more. 
It made my heart ache to refuse him, but 
there was no alternative. 

One danger was dwarfed by the greater 
perils that surrounded us, yet it was no less 
important. My wound was liable to put me 
hors de combat at any moment. Fortunately, 
until my dash from the guerrilla camp, I had 
not been subject to any physical strain, and by 
that time it had healed sufficiently to pre- 
vent its opening — at an}" rate, it gave me no 
trouble. The first thing Helen asked, after a 
lull in the fighting, was about this wound. 
She insisted on dressing it for me, and I per- 
mitted her to do so. She wound around it a 
fresh bandage torn from my shirt-sleeve and 
was pinning it when, looking up at me, she 
said : 

"You're not the first one of our men I've 
assisted with bandages." 

Her remark cut me like a knife. It was 
plain that she was making this effort, incur- 
rins: this danger, believino' me to be a Confed- 
erate. 

" I can't understand all these troubles that 



134 SWEET REVENGE 

surround you," she went on. "Why not ex- 
plain ?" 

" You know I'm charo;ed with beinfj in 
league with the Yankees." 

" Yes ; but your accusers are robbers and 
murderers. If I thought that — " She broke 
off with a frown, and turned away. 

The guerrillas built a fire, and, after cook- 
ing and eating breakfast, loitered about, some 
chatting, some playing cards, while others de- 
toted themselves to their wounded compan- 
ions, making them as comfortable as possible 
on beds of boughs covered with blankets. I 
took advantage of their inaction to learn how 
Buck had succeeded in delivering- his message 
to the scout he was to meet at Huntsville. As 
I could not question him before the others 
without giving up my secret, I drew hnii into 
the cleft behind us. 

" Buck, did you find the man I sent you to 
meet at Huntsville ?" 

"Reckon I did." 

" Tell me about it." 

" All right. As soon as I got into town I went 
right to the squar', 'n' stopped in front o' the 
hotel. I hitched my pony to a post, 'n' went 
inside. A man in the office said, ' Sonny, what 



BELEAGUERED 135 

d' y' want V 'n' I said, ' I'm c^oen' up on the gal- 
lery,' 'n' he said, ' What fo' T 'n' I said, ' Fo' t' 
see the town.' Then I went up-stairs 'n' wait- 
ed till I heard the clock striken', 'n' counted 
thi'teen." 

" Not thirteen, Buck. Clocks don't strike 
thirteen." 

" Well, don't y' see, that clock at Huntsville 
's a different kind. It struck either thi'teen 
or fo'teen, I couldn't tell which." 

"Never mind the clock. You're inventing 
all this. Go on." 

" Well, just as the clock struck, a man he 
came out on to the gallery. He had the dog- 
gonest eyes I ever saw — just like the wolf's in 
Red Riding-liood. At first he didn't take any 
notice o' me, looken' 's if he was bothered 
'cause I Avas thar, 'n' he expected somebody. 
Then he Avatched me with those sharp eyes o' 
his'n, 'n' at last he said, kind o' gruff, ' 'T's a 
fine day, boy,' 'n' I said, said I — what was it I 
Avas to say ?" 

" ' Reckon you'i'e weather-wise, stranger.' " 

" Oh 3'es, I know ; but I couldn't remember 
'zactl}', 'n' I said, said I, ' Reckon yo're weather- 
beaten, stranger.' He stood a looken' at me 
kind o' quar, 'n' I heard him a grunten' 



136 SWEET REVENGE 

somep'n like, ' Guess I am beat, somehow or 
'nuther.' Then he asked me somep'n "bout 
whether it was a rainen' at the time of the — 
what was that one?'' 

" ' The massacre." " 

" Oh yes, I know. And I said — what was 
it I said ?" 

" ' Bkick as night.' " 

"That's it; only I fo'got, 'n' said, 'Black 
as a doggone nigger,' and he said, ' What's 
the— " 

" ' Word.' " 

"'What's the word?' 'n' I took the spitball 
out o' my mouth 'n' handed it to him. He took 
it 'n' read it mighty quick. Then he looked at 
me and said, ' I'll be goldarned if that ain't 
the littlest messenger to carry such a big mes- 
sage I ever saw in my life ! Like attacken' a 
fortyfication with a how'tzer.' " 

" What did he do then ?" 

"I don' want t' tell that." 

" Why not ?" 

"Well, he must 'a' thought I was a baby.'' 

" Come, out with it." 

" He took me up and give me a kiss, rubben' 
my face with that hairy beard o' his'n." 

"Then what?" 



BELEAGUERED 137 

"He went down -stairs in a hurry, and I 
didn't see him any mo'." 

" Good for 3'ou ! Have you kept it all a 
secret ?" 

" Haven't said a word to any one." 

"That's right. You've done me a great 
favor, and one good turn deserves another. 
I'm going to tell you how to cure yourself of 
that bad habit of using useless adjectives. H 
you ever get out of this, get a note-book and 
pencil, and every time you use one of them 
note it down. This will show you how often 
you offend, and at last you will break yourself 
of a very bad habit." 

" I'll do that, by golly !" 

At noon we Avere again tantalized at seeing 
the guerrillas eating their dinner. 

"I wonder what they got?" said Buck. " I 
reckon 't's nothen' but fat pork, anyway. Who 
wants to eat fat pork ?" 

" I wish I could get my clutches on the cap- 
tain," said Jack, "I'd make him give me some." 

"De Lord '11 feed His chil'n," remarked 
Ginger. " Didn' He send de ravens to Elijah ?" 

"Not in these mountains," put in Buck. 
" Ravens couldn't find an3'thing up here to 
feed anybody with." 



138 SWEET REVENGE 

"Reckon dat raus' 'a' been in a land flowen' 
wid milk 'n' honey," supplemented Ginger. 

" Yo' ole fool," retorted Buck, " how could 
a raven carrj^ milk ?" 

" Don't be so smart, Buck," said Jack. " A 
raven could take the handle of a tin bucket in 
its mouth and fly with it, couldn't he?" 

Then Jack and Buck fell to v^'ing with each 
other which could invent the most remarkable 
fabrications about the wherewithal to satisfy 
their hunger. 

" I see a darky coming," said Jack, " v»'ith 
a white apron and cap, and a tra}' on his head 
covered with good things to eat." 

" That's nothen'," said Buck. " I see a roast- 
ed goose waddlen' up the hill with the stuiBn' 
tumblen' out of a hole in his breast." 

"Yo' little fibber, yo' don't see any such 
thing. I'll tell yo' what / see. I see a big 
table down there among the guerrillas covered 
with smoking beef and chicken and lamb with 
mint sauce running all over it, and peas and 
asparagus. Come, let's go and get some." 

She was so earnest about it that I feared she 
would; indeed,she started, but Helen caught and 
drew her back. Throwing herself into Helen's 
arms, she covered her face with her hands. 



XIV 
A BONTIRE DEFENCE 

Morning, noon, afternoon passed with no 
change in the situation. All my command 
slept during the day, and even I got two or 
three hours of tired nature's sweet restorer, 
though I Avould not close my eyes till Helen 
had promised not to talce hers off the guerril- 
las till I awoke. During the afternoon all be- 
ofan to suffer from huncrer, but I would not 
allow the scanty bit of food remaining to be 
eaten. Buck got over the noon meal bravely, 
but when supper-time came he clamored for 
something to eat. 

"Now, see hyar, Mr. Brand vstone," he ar- 
gued, " you just give me my shar' 'n' I won't 
want any mo' when the rest of yo' have 
yo's." 

" You must wait, Buck ; we shall have to 
fast long enough, anyway. The longer be- 
tween meals the lono:er we can hold out." 



140 SWEET KEVENGE 

" All right," he said, bravely, " I can hold 
out as long as any of yo'." 

As evenino: came on a horrible thous:ht 
loomed up suddenly. If the night should be 
dark, there was nothing to prevent the guer- 
rillas stealing up on us unawares, and captur- 
ing our strono-hold. 

" Imust find a way out of this," I muttered, 
and began an examination of the face of the 
rock in our rear. The cleft where water drip- 
ped slanted upward, a narrow opening little 
wider than a man's body. I crawled into the 
crevice, and, by using hands and feet, mount- 
ed to the summit. I stood enchanted by 
the splendid view. Northward and eastward 
the Cumberland Mountains reared their heads, 
a succession of wooded crests ; westward the 
fair plain of Middle Tennessee ; southward. 
Confederate territory cut off from us by war, 
and setting aflame the imagination as to what 
was taking place in the new-born nation. An 
undulating horizon divided the black earth 
from the scarlet sky left by the setting sun. 

Scrambling over the uneven ground, climb- 
ing rocks, fighting my way through thickets, 
I explored every promise of outlet. There was 
not a possible descent. I returned to the 



A BONFIRE DEFENCE 141 

mouth of the crevice, intending to rejoin my 
companions. I heard some one clambering up, 
and, looking down, saw Helen Stanforth. Giv- 
ing her my hand, I helped her to level ground. 

" You and I," I said, " should not be absent 
from the front at the same time." 

" Tell me," she said, fixing her e3'es on me 
intentl}'', " what I want to know. I have led 
Jaqueline, Buck, and Ginger into this trap in 
an attempt to save you. The least I can ex- 
pect is your confidence. Who are you?" 

Our lives depended on absolute devotion to 
each other. If I should tell her that I was a 
Southern man holding a commission in the 
Yankee army, that I had sent information 
North to enable a Union general to capture 
the region about her home, I should sap our 
main element of strength. On the other hand, 
I was accepting all this devotion under false 
pretences. The thought was maddening. Had 
she not been looking at me Avith her big, hon- 
est eyes, I believe I should have shed tears of 
anguish. 

" Miss Stanforth — Helen," I said, " who and 
what I am can be of no moment now Avith 
death staring us in the face. You and I have 
a mutual purpose — to save those who have 



142 SWEET REVENGE 

been led into this peril. There is no time for 
explanations. I beg of you to banish for the 
time this secret, and think only of the work 
before us." 

She turned her eyes out to the far-distant 
horizon, but did not see it, intent on her own 
thoughts. Then, looking again at me, she said, 
with a burst of impulse : 

" To know that you are unworthy would 
kill me." 

I bowed my head to escape her gaze. When 
I looked again she had turned and was enter- 
ing the crevice. 

Having failed to find an outlet in our rear, 
we had no choice but to face our enemies. I 
cast my eyes over the only route open to a 
night surprise. On our right, not far below, 
w^as the bare face of a rock twenty feet hio^h, 
around which was no path. To the left an- 
other rock projected in such fashion that while 
an enemy climbed over it his silhouette would 
appear against the sky. Noticing an abun- 
dance of fire-wood scattered about, I resolved 
to build a bonfire, with a view to lighting up 
our enemies should they attempt to steal upon 
us in the night. As soon as it Avas dark 
enough I sent Buck and Ginger out to gather 



A BONFIRE DEFENCE 143 

wood, and, selecting a fiat rock midway be- 
tween those on the flanks, scooped together 
some light dry stuff for kindling, and as fast 
as the wood was brought me put it on. When 
all was ready we returned to our fortress. 

But how light a flre^ There was not a 
match in the party ; indeed, the only means of 
ignition we possessed was a percussion-cap. I 
sacrificed two cartridges, and poured the pow- 
der they contained into a bit of paper, intend- 
ing to explode it with percussion-powder. 

Night attacks always occur just before dawn, 
and I felt confident that we should hear from 
the guerrillas, if at all, between two and three 
o'clock in the mornin"-. At one I awoke the 
command and issued our remaining ration. It 
was eaten ravenously, and when the last mor- 
sel had been consumed I told all to be ready 
at the slightest sound. I was going down to 
the unlighted fire, and in case they heard me 
hammering the percussion-powder they would 
know I had heard the enemy approaching. 
Then, taking Jack's revolver, I sallied forth. 

I passed down to my fire-wood, inspected it 
to see that it was all right, then went on far- 
ther, crawling on my stomach and listening. 
Noticing what in the darkness I supposed to 



144 SWEET REVENGE 

be a log, I resolved to crawl up behind it for 
concealment. On reaching it I raised my 
head and looked down into the face of a dead 
man. It was the body of one of the guerrillas 
we had shot during the day. This uncanny 
object, encountered at dead of night, startled 
me. There was the ghastly skin, the sunken 
cheek, the open mouth, while the eyes were 
staring up at the heavens as if they saw won- 
ders hidden from the living. I drew back. A 
consciousness of the horrors that awaited us 
struck me like a gust of cold wind. Perhaps 
before morning Helen Stanforth, or Jaque- 
line, or little Buck, or all of us, would be Ij^ing 
stiff and stark like that dead guerrilla. 

Then a greater strength, a daring, a cun- 
ning never before felt welled within me. I 
crawled on till I came so near the guerrilla 
camp that I could have thrown a stone into 
it. They had no fire, and this in itself was 
suspicious. I thought I heard a voice, but 
it was doubtless some animal or a bird giving 
a note of warning to its mate. I listened, 
but could hear nothing which I knew to be 
human. At last I sat down on a rock, and 
began what to me seemed an endless vigil. 

It was, perhaps, an hour after that I heard 



A BONFIRE DEFENCE 145 

unmistakable sounds of the guerrillas. I could 
see nothing, though I could hear voices, and 
voices at that time of night meant mischief. 
Darting back to my wood I set the paper of 
gunpowder on the rock under the dry grass, 
keeping a little in reserve, and got a stone 
ready to use for a hammer, then listened for 
a sign of advance. I had not long to wait. A 
man must have stumbled ; at any rate, I heard 
something which convinced me the enemy 
was coming, and, laying on my percussion- 
powder, I raised the stone and brought it 
down. 

Horror of horrors! The grass was blown 
away without being kindled. The last chance 
was gone! It was dark as pitch; not even a 
ray of moonlight to protect us against the 
coming cutthroats. 

Wait a bit. There are several spears of 
grass smouldering, a spark on the end of each. 
I gather them, and put tiie ember ends into 
the hollow of my hand, where I hold the re- 
serve gunpowder. A flash — a mere bit of 
flame no bigger than a pea ! I nurse it and 
put more grass with it, shove it all under the 
wood, and a beautiful bright flame shoots up 
that gladdens my heart. A joyful shout from 



146 SWEET REVENGE 

the fort sends a pleasant thrill through every 
fibre in my body. 

Ping! A bullet within an inch of my nose. 
I dart away into the darkness, and in another 
minute am in the fortress. 

I had scarcely got behind the breastworks 
when the glare of the burning wood showed 
me half a dozen men dashing up to the fire, 
and I knew they would try to scatter it. 

"When I count three, fire into the crowd. 
One ! two ! three !" 

Four bullets flew at the little knot of men 
below. We could not see who was hit, but 
all turned and started down the declivity, 
though one man dropped before he had gone 
a dozen yards. We lost no time in reloading, 
and had a new charge ready in every piece 
before seeing any signs of their return. But 
Buck, who took more time and made more 
fuss about his work than all the rest together, 
had scarcely rammed his charge home and 
fixed the percussion - cap on the nipple when 
three men made a dash at the fire. Two of 
them reached it and began to kick vigorously. 
I took deliberate aim at one of them and shot 
him through the head. My gun had scarcely 
cracked Avhen Helen let drive at the remain- 



A BONFIEE DEFENCE 147 

ing man. He staggered, but kept on kicking 
at the fire. I snatched Buck's gun and fin- 
ished him, dropping him on the burning 
brands. The third man, who had started for- 
ward several times and each time turned back, 
got out of sight as quickly as possible. 

"Look a' dar!" cried Ginger, pointing to 
the east. 

I turned my head, and there above the hori- 
zon was the faintest trace of dawn. 



XV 
WOMAN'S PLUCK 

After this second defeat we conld see the 
guerrillas gathered in a knot, evidently dis- 
cussing the situation. They talked so loud 
that we could often catcli a word, and their 
gesticulations were plain to us all. At last 
the captain took a white handkerchief from 
his pocket, fixed it to a stick, and, holding it 
over his head, advanced towards us. 

"A flag of truce!" we all exclaimed to- 
gether. 

" He's going to offer us something to eat I'' 
cried Jack. '• I knew he Avouldn't let us starve." 

I stepped over the breastworks to go and 
meet the bearer of the flag. Buck called out : 

" Tell him I'll take some fried chicken fo' 
mine." 

I met the captain at the spot Avhere we had 
built our fire. His arm was in a sling and he 
was very pale. Something told me that he 



WOMAN S PLUCK 149 

did not relish the work ia which he was en- 
gaged. 

"I've come to tell you," he said, "that if 
ycjll surrender, the rest of yo' people can go." 

" What assurance have I that you will keep 
the terms ?" 

" The word of a — " He stopped. I saw 
that habit had led him to use an expression 
common among gentlemen in the South, but 
the word had stuck in his throat. 

" Captain," I said, " you are a better man 
than the company you keep. Satisfy me that 
the women, the boy, and the negro shall go 
free, and you are welcome to ?«<?." 

" The men are divided about the women," 
he replied, lowering his voice. 

" Which party holds the balance of power?" 

" It's hard to tell." 

" Then we have no assurance that if we 
surrender you can keep your promise to let 
them go unharmed ?" 

" There's no telling. Befo' your escape and 
the killing yo' all have been doing I could 
have fixed it. But the men are exasperated 
at the damage you've done." 

" Can't you be blind, and let us out to- 
night ?" 



150 SWEET REVENGE 

"No; Fv^e lost more control of my men 
within the last few days than all the time I've 
commanded them. If they saw the slight- 
est move on my part to let yo' slip, they'd 
shoot me, and yo' would never get out alive, 
either. I can't stand here talking any longer. 
They'll suspect something. What's yo' an- 
swer ?" 

I turned the matter quickh'^ over in my mind. 

" Captain," I said, " I will transmit your 
proposition. If your terras are accepted, I 
will go down to your camp and my friends 
will follow. If they are not accepted, we will 
wave to you. In this event you will know 
that these noble girls, this brave boy, this 
faithful negro, prefer to take their chances 
with me." 

Both of us turned without another word, 
and in a few minutes the captain was with 
his men, and I had joined my little half-starved 
army. I was received with eager, question- 
ing looks. 

" He has made a proposition," I said. " I 
will give it to you with the information that 
goes with it. If we will surrender, he prom- 
ises that all shall go free except me." 

I paused a moment to watch the expression 



woman's pluck 151 

of their faces. I saw at once that they were 
all bitterly disappointed. 

" I feel bound to state further that the cap- 
tain lias informed me that he cannot surely 
guarantee your safety, though he would if he 
could. He tells me that the men are divided, 
and he does not know himself which party is 
the stronger. You are not sure of safety, 
but you have a chance, whereas if we are 
taken by force the chances are all against 
you. Before giving my own views, I wish to 
get an expression of opinion from each one of 
you separately. Miss Stanforth, shall we ac- 
cept the proposition or not ? Say yes or no." 

She curled her lip. " I don't care to con- 
sider such a proposition." 

" Miss Rutland ?" 

" No !" cried little Jack, with a snap in her 
eye. 

" Buck ?" 

" Reckon I'd ruther stay whar I am awhile 
longer, though, by golly, I'm mighty hungry." 
He spoke the last words very ruefully. 

"Ginger?" 

"I ain't no traitor-man, mars', ef I air black. 
Ginger hain't gwine t' talk 'bout gibben no- 
body up t' save hisself." 



153 SWEET REVENGE 

"My friends," I said, and I could not re- 
press a tremor in my voice, though God knows 
I tried, " I cannot accept your sacrifice. The 
guerrillas, having secured me, will doubtless 
quarrel about you, and the captain and those 
who are with him may find an opportunity to 
let you get away under cover of the night." 

"No! no!" cried all. " AYe'U stand to- 
gether." 

"How were you to repl}^?" asked Helen. 

" If the terms were accepted, we were to go 
down ; if rejected, we w^ere to wave." 

Helen took off her check bonnet, and, ty- 
ing it to a carbine, stood up on the rocks and 
waved it to the guerrillas, who were standing 
below watching for our signal, while our little 
command gave as lusty a cheer as their ex- 
hausted condition would admit. 

But the real heroism was yet to come. I 
had seen evidence that the woman wing of my 
army was not to be appalled at any propo- 
sition, but it was impossible that I could be 
prepared for what was to follows I have 
sometimes wondered if it was not rather an 
emanation of genius than heroism, but have 
invariably concluded that it was the genius 
of heroism. 



WOMAN S PLUCK 153 

The first flush of excitement at the rejection 
of the terms being over, Jack began to show 
signs of irritation — a condition I attributed to 
the gnawing pangs of hunger. She shook her 
fist at the guerrillas, vowing that if she could 
ever get her papa again he should scour the 
country till he had captured every one of 
them, and when captured she would herself 
take inexpressible pleasure in making targets 
of them for pistol-practice. Then she would 
call to them for something to eat. They were 
too far to hear her, and, of course, her request 
would not have been granted if they had. 
"Captain! good captain! dear captain!'' she 
cried, " do let us out of this ; that's a dear 
boy." Then she turned to JMiss Stanforth. 
" Helen, what in the world did we come on 
such an errand as this fo' ? Why didn't we 
send the soldiers ?" 

" Jack," said Helen, " I'm sorry you regret 
it. /don't; I never regret." 

" Yo're showen' the white feather/' said 
Buck. 

Jack's ej^es glistened with anger. 

" The white feather ! What do yo' mean, yo' 
little pest ? White feather ! I'm not afraid of 
all the guerrillas in Christendom. They won't 



154 SWEET REVENGE 

hurt 7ne. I'm going down there to ask 'em fo* 
something to eat. I'll get 3^0' all off. White 
feather! I'll show yo?^ .^" 

She sprang upon the rampart, but I cauglit 
her and dragged her back. 

" Let me go !" she screamed. 

" Didn' I tole yo' Missy Jack hab de 
biggest temper in de Souf?" cried Ginger, 
proudly. 

" Let her go," said Helen, " and I'll go with 
her. If those of the guerrillas Avho are dis- 
posed to protect us can do so they will suc- 
ceed as well without you as with you. In- 
deed, your presence Avill only tend to irritate 
them. Come, Jack, we'll try it." 

I stood aghast at such a plan. I forbade it. 
The girls were determined. I begged, order- 
ed, stormed at them, declaring that for every 
step they took towards that den of hell-hounds 
I would take two. At last Helen laid her hand 
on my sleeve and looked me calmly in the eye. 

"Major Branderstane, I want you to let me 
have my way in this matter. You owe it to 
me. When you were wounded I took j^ou in 
and succored you. Since we have been in 
this place I have obeyed your every order. 
Jack has flashed out unknowingly, uninten- 



WOMAN S PLUCK 155 

tionally, a stroke of genius. Jack is a genius. 
She has hit on our only chance. She fascinat- 
ed the guerrillas once, and she'll do it again. 
She will split them in halves, and set one-half 
against the other. But she will need 7ne. 
Give me that revolver." 

All this was lost on me. I swore they 
should not go. I planted mj^self between 
them and the rampart. Helen stepped to one 
side of me, Jack darted to the other. Ginger 
put his hand on my arm. 

" Don't stop Missy Jack, mars'. Missy Jack 
can do eberyting Avid men-folks." He turned 
ni}^ face to the cliff. " Look dat a way, an' yo' 
won't see hit." 

When I broke from the old man Helen and 
Jack were beyond the rampart. 

I have seen lifeboat-men pull out in a tem- 
pestuous sea, breasting a howling wind and 
madly tossing billows. I have seen men march 
out to battle with almost a certainty of death 
or mutilation, but I have never looked upon 
any sight with the mingled terror and admira- 
tion that thrilled me as I beheld these two 
girls, without other weapon than woman's 
loveliness, descend the rocky slope towards the 
guerrilla camp. They moved, hand in hand, 



156 SWEET REVENGE 

as I have seen graceful ships sail side by side. 
Helen was the taller and the more command- 
ing, but both walked erect ; Helen buoyed by 
a native courage, Jaqueline confident in the 
possession of a gift, a genius for bending men 
to her Avill. 

They had scarcely left us when the guer- 
rillas caught sight of them and stood looking 
up in stupid wonder. Ginger, Buck, and I 
were staring down upon them. Ginger's eyes 
starting out of his head, Buck leaning ex- 
citedly over the rampart, I clutching my car- 
bine. On went the girls, between the flank- 
ing rocks, out upon a gentle swell, through a 
slight depression, over stones, weeds, brambles, 
till at last they came within fifty yards of tlie 
guerrilla camp. Then came a cheer from the 
bandits — I knew not whether of triumph or 
welcome — and the girls entered the camp. 

What they said, what was said to them, I 
could not hear — I could only see. Captain 
Ringoid raised his hat and stood Avitli it in his 
hand. He was evidently speaking, for the 
men gathered round, and all seemed to be in- 
tent on him and the girls. Then I saw Helen 
step a little to the front, and all faces were 
turned to her. Occasionallv she made a g-est- 



woman's pluck 157 

lire, now turning to our little fortress, now 
pointing the finger of scorn at the guerrillas, 
as though to shame them or to influence what- 
ever of manliness there might be in them. She 
Avas making them a long speech — at least, it 
seemed so to me, who could see but not hear. 
At last there was a cheer. The conference 
was ended. 

Then the little actress, Jaqueline, was evi- 
dently using her art. She would whisk up to 
one of the men, stand before him in a favorite 
position of hers, bent slightly forward, and 
shake her linger in his face. All the men stood 
watching her. Occasionally there came a 
burst of laughter, a yell of applause, a clap- 
ping of hands, and I knew that Jack was car- 
rying her audience. 

Then I could see the fig-ures below beo;inninof 
to busy themselves about preparations for sup- 
per. Helen and Jack took hold as they had 
done once before, the men permitting them to 
do the work. 

Buck, beside me, chuckled. 

" What is it. Buck ?" 

" That consarned Jack's goen' roun' thar 
with the skillet in one han' and chawen' some- 
p'n she's got in the other. Wish I was thar." 



158 ■ SWEET KEVENGE 

When supper was served each man vied 
with the others to provide for their guests. 
Jack was seated on the ground, her back rest- 
ing against a tree, a plate in her lap, a tin cup 
at her side, evidently making a hearty supper, 
keeping the men running back and forth from 
the fire, filling her plate or her cup at every 
trip. 

After supper we could see that the confer- 
ence was resumed between Helen and the 
guerrillas. She Avas evidently arguing with 
them to effect a purpose. The captain had a 
good deal to say, but all were taking part in 
the debate. Then the girls started for our 
fort. One of the men approached the captain 
and shook a fist in his face. The captain 
knocked him down. Another started after 
the retreating party, but was intercepted. A 
general fight ensued, some of the men placing 
themselves between the others and the girls, 
who were now coming up the hill, quickening 
their pace at every step. Cocking my car- 
bine, I ran down to join the girls, meeting 
them midway between the fort and the guer- 
rilla camp. First Jack came dashing past me, 
wild with terror, her cheeks blanched, her eyes 
starino-. Helen came on more slowlv, turnino- 



WOMAN S PLUCK 159 

occasionally with hot cheeks and flashing eye. 
Below among the guerrillas was a babel — 
swearing, howling, and shooting, the protect- 
ing party being the stronger and keeping the 
others at bay. I put my arm behind Helen, 
and hurried her up the steep slope. When we 
got to the fort Jack was already there, crouch- 
ing behind the rampart, her head appearing 
above it, her eyes as big as saucers. 

" Goody gracious, what a fool I was to go 
down there ! Wouldn't do it again fo' any- 
thing." 

Helen gave me a hurried account of the 
visit. On entering the camp the captain had 
complimented them upon their bravery, both 
in the fig'hts that had occurred and in coming: 
out unarmed, assuring them — lookinfj: omi- 
nously at some of the more cutthroat of his 
men — that if any man offered them the slight- 
est indignity he would shoot him on the spot. 
Helen had replied that whatever they were, 
she believed they were brave, and above in- 
juring a Avoman. Then she held up to them 
the magnitude of their crimes, and bade them 
go and enlist in the Confederate army. She 
succeeded in getting an oifer of a free con- 
duct to all save me; this they persistently re- 



160 SWEET REVENGE 

fused. After much urging the captain agreed 
that Ave should be let alone till the next morn- 
ing — a promise on which I placed no reliance. 
Helen begged to be permitted to carry me 
provisions. This was also refused. 

" I did all I could," she said, ruefully, "but 
I couldn't move even the captain. They 
wouldn't give me a morsel for you." 

" Oh, Helen," said Jack, " I'm tired of hear- 
ing yo' whine," and taking off her sunbonnet. 
out rolled a liberal supply of corn-pone and 
salt pork. 

"You little thief!" cried Helen, and threw 
her arms around her cousin. 

A second time my life had been saved, at 
least temporarily, by Jaqueline. 



XVI 

A BUGLE-CALL 

The night passed without an attack. I pre- 
pared a fire as before, but it was not needed. 
Day dawned, and we could see that the guer- 
rillas had made themselves more comfortable, 
having constructed a rude hut of boughs for 
shelter, showing conclusivel}'' that they in- 
tended to wait patiently for the starving proc- 
ess to do its work. During the day the 
remnant of the provisions Jack had purloined 
was consumed, and the command Avas supper- 
less. Again we entered upon a long, weary 
night. All except myself were so worn that 
they evinced little care for watching. They 
were getting benumbed, a condition which 
comes at last over one hunted for his life. 
As for me, my position was harrowing. My 
devoted friends who had made the attempt 
to rescue me were starving, and, to crown 
all, Helen Stanforth, who had instigated the 



162 SWEET REVENGE 

attempt, planned it, and led the others into 
it, was deceived as to my true character. I 
brooded over the situation till I was well-nigh 
insane. Then I made a resolve — a resolve 
that might free the others, but would end in 
my death. I would go down to the guerrillas 
and give myself up. It was possible that my 
case having been disposed of, Captain Kin- 
gold and his adherents would be able to pro- 
tect the girls, and. Buck and Ginger being of 
no moment to the band, all might go in peace. 

But there was an obstacle in the way that I 
knew would not be easily overcome — the oppo- 
sition of all my friends. It was hard for me 
to go down to my death. How could I bring 
myself to do so with all these beloved ones 
endeavoring to prevent me ! There was one 
way by which I might render them less averse 
to the plan. By proclaiming the military mis- 
sion which had taken me to Alabama I might 
render myself an object of hatred and con- 
tempt. Despite the pain this confession would 
cost me, I resolved to make it. 

At the moment I took my resolution I looked 
up at Helen, who was always my first ob- 
ject of thought before any important move. 
She was leanino- over the battlement looking- 



A BUGLE-CALL 163 

down upon the guerrillas. In her face was a 
strength, an honesty such as I had never seen 
before on that of any woman. My resolve 
dwindled before that heroic countenance. I 
could not turn her sublime faith in me to de- 
testation. 

However, my purpose to end the struggle 

by my own surrender was unchanged. Rising, 

I called out in a tone which at once attracted 

attention and denoted that I had something of 

' importance to say, 

" Dear friends I" 

All looked at me inquiringly. 

" I am going down there to give myself up; 
then you can go free." 

Helen's gaze bespoke not only her astonish- 
ment but dismay. 

" What yo' going to do that fo' ?" asked 
Jack, quickly. 

" Because I owe it to you all to do so." 

" I'm goen' with yo'," said Buck. 

" You will do no such thing ; you must stand 
by your sister and cousin." 

" What d' y' want to leave us in the lurch 
fo' ?" said Jack, impatiently. 

This imputed motive brought a fresh addi- 
tion to my distress. Even with a perfect under- 



164 SWEET REVENGE 

standing between me and the others my burden 
was hard enough to bear ; Jack's taunt well- 
nigh turned the scale. Bending to the cliff, I 
buried my face in my hands. A soft hand 
was laid on mine. Helen was endeavoring to 
uncover my face. I turned and met her gaze 
— strong, tender, sympathetic. 

"Your life is not yours to surrender. You 
must wait till it is forced from 3'^ou," 

" I would be unworthy of your sublime de- 
votion should I accept any further sacrifice, 
especially since it can be of no avail." 

" By giving up now you would turn all our 
efforts to nothing. We shall have made a fail- 
ure that will remain an eternal burden." 

" It will be light compared with my self- 
condemnation when I see you die with me." 

By this time Jack had seized my other hand 
with both of hers. 

" Yo' can't go ; yo' mustn't think of it. What 
would we do without yo' ?" 

" Cease trying to make a coward of me," I 
cried, " or, by God, I shall go mad." 

I sprang towards the rampart. 

" Stop !" cried Helen, imperatively. "' I own 
your life to dispose of as I will — I and Jack. 
Had it not been for me, you would have bled 



A BUGLE-CALL 165 

to death when you received your wound. Had 
it not been for Jack, you would have ah^eady 
been murdered by the guerrillas." 

" Yes, and I am not so base as to pull niy 
benefactors down with me. Stand aside." 

"Hark!" " 

Jack spoke the word in her quick way, pois- 
ing her head on one side to listen. She had 
heard a low whistle. In another moment it 
was repeated, seeming to come from below, 
where we had built our bonfire. A figure 
was advancing through the gloom, holding 
aloft a white handkerchief. I jumped from 
the rampart and ran down to meet this " flag," 
which I soon saw was borne by Captain Rin- 
gold. 

" What do you want ?" 

" Don't let your women come into our camp 
again. Jaycox is back, and he and Halliday 
have got the upper hand. I'm powerless." 

" Will your men let the women go if I give 
myself up ?" 

"No; stay with them to the last." 

" One word more." 

" There's no time. I have stolen away, and 
if I am missed and it's known where I have 
been, I'll be a dead man." 



166 SWEET REVENGE 

He was gone before the last word was spo- 
ken. I returned to the fortress. 

"What is itr' cried Jack, expectantl3\ 

" He has lost the power to protect 3-011 ; he 
advises me to stay with you to the last." 

"Will your' 

" Yes," I replied, with a sigh. 

" Thank God !" exclaimed Helen. 

Another nio-ht of horror ; a risiiiij: sun, flood- 
ing the face of the rocks and our wan faces 
with a ruddy glow. A more wretched lot of 
beings could not be found among castaways at 
sea. We had not slept during the night, for 
whatever of rest had come to any of us had 
been rather stupor than sleep. Our clieeks 
were sunken ; our eyes, deep in their sockets, 
were turned towards the red orb of day, which 
to our fevered imaginations seemed to be ad- 
vancing to strike the final blow. 

A great change had come over us during 
the night. Jack alternated between bursts 
of passion and a devil-may-care spirit, sprin- 
kled with humorous sallies between tears and 
smiles, which served to lighten momentarily 
the gloom for the others, but only rendered 
me more wretched. Buck craved food more 



A BUGLE-CALL 167 

than all the rest, and after a fe\y vain efforts 
to appear unconcerned, took on a ghastly look 
that cut me to the heart. Ginger spent a 
great deal of his time in prayer. Helen seemed 
calm, yet I noticed a strange look in her eye. 
Up to this terrible morning she had been the 
mainstay of the part3\ Under the strain that 
smouldering fire which burned within her 
flared ominously. Turning to me, she asked, 
harshly : 

" Are you a Confederate, or are you a — 
Yankee?" 

" What matters it now ?" 

" I came to save you, understanding you to 
be a Confederate." 

"Would you abandon me now if 3^ou knew 
me to be a Union man?" 

She turned away, and I saw that she was 
weeping. I put my arm about her and drew 
her head down on my breast. There she wept 
long and silently. Whether she was uncon- 
scious of what she did, or whether her suffer- 
ings made her careless, I did not know, but as 
I felt her heart beatino^ as^ainst mine I was 
conscious of the birth of a new love. 

As the sun rose higher it beat down upon 
us with all the enervatins- heat of an unseason- 



168 SWEET REVENGE 

able day. The water dripping back of us alone 
sustained and refreshed us. One b}^ one we 
would go to the cleft, and, standing under the 
cooling drops, receive them in our mouths. 
We envied the birds the food they bore to 
their nests, and the freedom of those soaring 
far above in the limitless ocean of air. Why 
could we not be given wings to fly from our 
rocky prison? The wrecked are prone to 
dwell on hallucinations ; so to us came sounds 
denoting the approach of rescuers. One would 
hear the tramp of armed men ; another would 
see the white covers of a wagon-train. All 
day we were tortured by these fancies, till at 
last I ceased to pay any attention to them. 

" I hear horse's hoofs," said Buck. 

" Oh no, you don't, Buck," I said, laying my 
hand on his head. 

" I tell yo' I do." 

^' Listen," said Helen. 

We all listened, but so far as I was concerned 
there w^as no unusual sound. 

" I hear them, too," said Jack. 

It was singular that these two should 
agree. I looked anxiously at Helen. My 
hearing was not especially acute ; if Helen 
had heard, I might have thought there was 



A BUGLE-CALL 169 

something to hear. She hstened a long while, 
but no sound came to her. 

" It's gone," said Buck. 

" So it is," said Jack. " I heard it; I know 
I did." 

I turned away. It was plain to me that 
they had been tortured by another hallucina- 
tion. Neither Buck nor Jack heard anything 
more, and the incident was soon forgotten, at 
least by Helen and by me, who had heard 
nothing. AVe all relapsed into that dreadful 
waitins: — waiting: for the time when the fear 
of death would be overcome by the pangs of 
starvation. Helen suddenly looked at me, that 
dangerous light which I had seen before in 
her eyes. 

" Your enemy V she asked. 

" What enemy ?" 

" The one you came to Alabama to kill." 

" I shall never kill him now." 

" Do you mean that you abandon your 
revenge ?" Slie spoke contemptuously. 

" With death staring me, staring you and 
the others in the face — you who have wrecked 
3^ourselves in a vain attempt to save me — my 
private griefs sink to nothingness." 

" You must be revenged." She spoke as if it 



170 SWEET REVENGE 

were she and not I who was to be the aven- 
ger. 

" I remember ; you were to help me." 

" I will help you." 

" There is no need ; we are doomed." 

" We shall live ; and you will meet him." 

" And then ?" 

" You will kill him." 

" My poor girl, think no more of that. Let 
us fix our minds on gentler things ; let us hope 
for some escape from this dreadful fate." 

She sat down on the bare rock, I beside her. 
"We both looked out upon the setting sun, tint- 
ing the mountains with ominous blood-stains, 
like those I had seen on the evening I reached 
the guerrilla band. Jack was sitting holding 
her knees, rocking back and forth ; Buck was 
lying on his back with his eyes shut ; Ginger 
had finished a prayer and was rising from his 
knees. Suddenly the whole command started 
up as if touched by a current of vitality. There 
rang out on the still mountain air the clear 
tones of a bugle. 

There was no hallucination about this sound. 
Each note cut the air with scimitar-like sharp- 
ness. To our ears, whetted as they were for 
some tidings of relief, it was like trumpet 



A BCGLE-CALL 171 

tones from heaven. It echoed and re-echoed 
through the mountains, each echo fainter than 
the last, dying softly in the far distance. 

Shading my eyes Avith my hand, peering 
down towards tlie road, I saw through a small 
opening in the trees liles of cavalry passing by 
fours. They were too far for me to distinguish 
whether they wore the blue or the gray; but 
it made no difference; either side would, be 
welcome. Seizing a carbine, I pointed it at the 
sky and fired. 

The bugle and my shot produced a magical 
effect on the guerrillas. AVithout waiting to 
gather anything but their arms, every man of 
them darted away into the woods. They knew 
well what would be their fate could we open 
communication with the cavalry. 

" 'Not a moment is to be lost," I cried to my 
command; "that bugle -call was an order to 
halt. We must catch the soldiers before they 
start again." 

Gathering the guns and putting half a 
dozen cartridges that remained in my pocket, 
we all left the fort that had served us so 
well and started down the declivity. With- 
out the inspiration of those bugle notes we 
could scarcely have crawled away. Now we 



173 SWEET EEVENGE 

not only walked, but walked rapidly. Once 
past the flanking rocks, we turned to the left, 
skirted the base of the hill, and made straiorht 
for the road. I led, and so great was my 
anxiety to get the otliers forward that I Avas 
constantly getting ahead of them. I saw that 
Buck w^as lagging, and 1 was starting back to 
help him when Helen stooped, took him up in 
her arms, and threw him over her shoulder. 
He kicked so vigorously at this indignity that 
Helen put him down, and, his fury lending him 
strength, he at once took the lead beside me. 
"We hurried on, now" and again looking back to 
make sure that we were not followed, climbing 
over rocks, through ravines, around projecting 
points, I directing the course towards the spot 
Avhere I had seen the passing troopers. We 
had traversed half the distance when there 
came another bugle -call. It Avas the order 
" Forward !" 

I could not repress an exclamation of chagrin. 
I knew the guerrillas heard all we heard, and 
this last bugle order would probably arrest 
their flight and bring them back after us. 
" Come !" I cried, '' we are still in peril." 
I dashed on for a short distance, then turned 
and cast a Hance behind me. Helen was 



A BUGLE-CALL 173 

marching firmh^; Jack was staggering. As I 
looked she pitched forward and fell. Before I 
could reach her Ginger had picked her up, and, 
gathering her limp bod\" in his arms, her head 
resting on his shoulder, carried her on. The 
burden, so precious to the faithful old slave, 
seemed to give him fresh courage, and he 
pushed on, though with tottering steps. 

" I'll relieve you presently, Ginger," I said, 
" Hold out as long as you can." 

We came to a depression, in the centre of 
which ran a mountain stream ; the descent and 
the ascent on the opposite side were both rocky, 
and covered with a thick growth of low tim- 
ber, and difficult to pass. I glanced hastily to 
the ri":ht and to the left, but. seeing no better 
passage, plunged down the declivity. Buck 
was now sticking to me like a leech, Helen 
was just behind, while a hundred yards back 
Ginger staggered along with Jack. I waited 
a moment for him to come up, and then led 
the way into the ravine, intending to take his 
burden from him when we had passed the 
stream. Once at the creek, we waded across. 
In the middle Ginger stumbled and dumped 
his burden into the water. 

The effect on Jack was marvellous. The 



174 SWEET REVENGE 

cold water brought a reaction which, if not 
pleasing, was at least beneficial. She flew 
into a towering passion at Ginger for dropping 
her, and when I attempted to take her up 
gave me a box on the ear that made it tingle. 
Dripping, she dashed up the rise in the ground, 
storming as she went, and gained the summit 
before the rest. 

Pushing through a level wooded space, we 
soon came to the road. A bugle ahead sound- 
ed the order to trot. Scarcely had its echoes 
died away Avhen, from the direction of the 
outlaws' deserted camp came a shrill whistle. 

" The guerrillas !" I cried. " It is now a 
race between life and death." 



XVII 
FLIGHT 

I WAS at a loss to know what had brouHit 
a bod}^ of cavalry up into the Cumberland 
mountains. I learned afterwards that they 
had come from Shelbyville and were on their 
way to attack Bridgeport, where the Memphis 
and Charleston railroad crossed the Tennessee, 
with a view to burning the bridge. At Tracy 
City they had heard of a Confederate force 
moving on their flank to cut them off, and re- 
traced their steps. Buck and Jaqueline had real- 
1}^ heard them going southward early in the 
afternoon. The bugle -calls we all heard so 
distinctly were sounded on their way back. 

" Where did you leave your horses ?" I asked, 
quickly, of Helen as we hurried on. 

" In a clump of trees near the road. There 
it is now." She pointed to a thicket. 

Great was my anxiety as I ran to the place 
designated, to know if the horses were still 



176 SWEET KEVENGE 

there. I was doomed to disappointment ; 
they were gone. There was no time for re- 
pining over the loss. ■ I most think out the 
problem of our immediate action, and that in- 
stantly. Two courses were open to us. We 
might follow the cavalry northward, or we 
could strike out towards the south. Each plan 
had its advantages. If we followed the cav- 
alry we might succeed in coming up with 
them, in which event we should be safe ; but 
as they were mounted and we were not, there 
was little hope of our overtaking them. Be- 
sides, the guerrillas would expect us to follow 
that course. If we pushed south we must 
abandon all hope of falling in with the troop- 
ers, but would doubtless mislead the guerrillas 
and gain considerable time. We would also 
be moving towards the homes of the others of 
the party. I struck out southward. 

"What are yo' going that way fo'?" cried 
Jack. 

'• It's the way to go." 

" Well, go ahead ; I'm going after the sol- 
diers." 

She turned and started northward. I seized 
her, and, taking her in my arms, carried her 
along with the rest, she raining a shower of 



FLIGHT 177 

blows from her little list upon m}' head. "We 
pressed on without a word, till Jack, either 
tired of the situation, or becoming sensible 
of the absurdity of her action, promised that 
if I would put her down she would go with 
us peaceabh^ I set her on the ground in a 
very disgruntled condition. 

"I wisii Captain Kingold were here," she 
muttered, angrily ; " he'd make you pay fo' 
that." 

The road was so winding that I did not fear 
au}'^ one behind could see us from a distance, 
while, should we leave it, our progress would 
be very slow. I chose to take the risk of be- 
ing seen, and put as great a distance as possible 
between us and the outlaws, while they sup- 
posed they were on our track in the direction 
of the cavalry ; for I felt sure they would ex- 
pect us to take that course. We had not gone 
far before we met a lean countr3'man on horse- 
back. In a few words I told him of our situa- 
tion, and begged him if he met the guerrillas 
to mislead them. When he learned of our 
starving condition he pulled a small black bot- 
tle containing whiskey out of his saddle-bag. 
I forced every member of the party to drink, 
and, tossing the empty bottle at the country- 



178 SWEET KEVENGE 

man, hurried on. I knew that the sthnulant 
would avail us but a little while, then would 
only make matters worse. Helen walked on, 
showing no effect whatever from the potation, 
Jack danced along as if she were at a picnic 
party, while Buck suddenly became brave as 
a lion. 

"Don't yo' think, Mr. Brandystone," he 
said, with difficulty getting breath enough to 
articulate while walking so fast, " we'd better 
stop 'n' fight 'em ?" 

"I think you'd better stop talking and save 
your breath for walking." 

" Reckon we better stop," said Ginger, " 'n' 
thank de Lawd fo' letten us out o' dat trap, 'n' 
pray fo' dem g'rillas 't git los' in de wilder- 
ness." 

"We can do that while we're walking," said 
Helen, " and not lose any time." 

" 'Spec' de pra'rs on de knees is mo' effica- 
cerous," replied Ginger, " but mebbe we don' 
need 'em like we did a spell ago." 

Still there was no sound in our rear. Helen 
asked if I did not think that keeping the road 
was pretty risky. I told her tliat I would 
soon give the word to take to the woods. 
Coming to a point where there was a turn, 



FLIGHT 179 

leaving a straight piece of road back of us, I 
told the rest to go on while I waited and 
watched. I stood castino- o-lances back till inv 
army reached another turn in advance, then, 
pressing forward, caught up with them. In 
this Avay I kept them in the road and main- 
tained a rear watch at the same time for 
nearly half an hour. Then the strength of 
the party, which had thus far been supplied 
by excitement, suddenly began to droop, and 
I, feeling that I had used all the energy 
there was in them, led the way off the road 
into the heart of the forest. AVe had scarcely 
got into the woods when we heard a clatter- 
ing of hoofs on the road. "Whether they were 
made by the guerrillas' horses or not I did not 
know, but I felt very sure they were. AVe 
waited till they were out of hearing; then 
every one sank down on the ground. 

"Now, Gringer," I said, "it is a good time 
to giv^e thanks." 

Getting on his knees. Ginger poured out the 
thanks of the party in words that came as 
smoothly and plentifully as the waters of a 
running stream. I, being of that persuasion 
which has for its motto, " Trust in God, but 
keep your powder dry,'- and seeing that Gin- 



180 SWEET KEVENGE 

ger was disposed to prolong his thanksgiving 
indefinitely, got up and started to find a con- 
venient pLace to hide. I soon struck a little 
pocket, formed by the coming together of 
several declivities, and surrounded by thickets. 
A little runnel passed through it, and, stooping 
down, I quenched a thirst that was burning 
me. Returning to the party, I led them to 
the retreat I had found for tliem, then left 
them to go in search of provisions. 

It was now quite dark. I walked half a 
mile, when I saw the Hghts of Tracy City. Go- 
ing to the town and selecting a house standing 
apart from the rest, I marched boldly up to it 
and knocked at the door. It was opened by a 
girl, the only occupant of the place, a wild-eyed 
creature in dingy calico, unshod, her square-cut 
locks tucked behind her ears. She appeared 
to be in a chronic state of fright, and evident- 
ly thought me one of those men who were go- 
ing about taking advantage of the absence of 
restraint induced by war to help themselves 
to whatever they wanted. I asked her for some 
food and a few cooking utensils, and when I 
paid her for them she Avas struck dumb with 
amazement. I returned to camp with provi- 
sions, matches, a skillet, and a coffee-pot. 



FLIGHT 181 

Gino;er and Buck had frathered a little wood 
for the fire. At the inner extremity of the 
pocket we occupied was a low ledge of over- 
hanging rock. It projected but a few feet, 
and was about the height of little Buck from 
the ground. I hesitated for some time wheth- 
er it would not be dangerous to light a fire 
and thus guide our enemies to where we were, 
but at last concluded to place the wood under 
the ledge and cover the front with boughs. 
Driving three stakes into the ground, I placed 
the wood under them and lighted it. Then 
filling my coffee-pot with water from the 
stream, and putting in my coifee, a very pleas- 
ant odor soon greeted our nostrils. 

But all were too famished to Avait for a 
cooked supper. Seizing upon some corn-pone 
I had brought, the others devoured it eagerly, 
I restraining my appetite long enough to put 
some bacon into the skillet. One article of 
food after another was devoured as it was got 
ready, and our coffee without milk came in at 
the end like the last course at a dinner. 

As soon as we had finished our supper we 
put out the fire, lay boughs where it had been, 
and covered them with dry leaves, making a 
bed for the two girls and Buck. Ginger was 



183 SWEET REVENGE 

to bivouac wherever he liked, while I proposed 
to watch. Leaving the others to get to bed, 
I took a carbine and walked towards the road. 

There was a light step behind me, and, turn- 
ing, I saw Helen coming. 

" Go back," I said, " and take your rest. 
You need all you can get." 

"I wish to take half your watch." 

" You shall do no such thing." 

" I am strong ; the supper has revived me." 

" Helen," I said, quietly, at the same time 
taking her hand, " I am in command ; as a good 
soldier it is your duty to obey." 

I led her back to the camp. As we passed, 
hand in hand, over the dead leaves and crack- 
ling twigs, ray heart was filled, even in our 
peril, with a supreme happiness, yet a happiness 
marred by the gulf between us. I longed to 
tell her that I loved her — for her bravery, her 
strength of character, her devotion, for her- 
self — but I could not without confessing myself 
an enemy to all she held dear. 

When we reached the camp we stood face 
to face in the moonlight. It seemed as impos- 
sible to restrain the words I would utter as it 
was impossible to utter them. I dropped her 
hand and walked away to resume my watch. 



FLIGHT 183 

From an eminence I turned and looked back. 
She was still standing in the moonlight. I 
knew that she was disapjDointed that I had 
withheld an expression of my love. What 
could I do? Turning again, I passed in among 
the trees. 

All through that long night I walked with a 
soft tread, hearkening to the slightest sound, 
straining my ears whenever a breeze rustled 
the branches of tlie trees, or starting when I 
heard some fur-coated creature prowling in 
search of food. Yet during my watch one 
picture was ever present before me. All night 
I saw Helen standing in the moonlight, all 
night I brooded over the barrier that separated 
us. At dawn I felt that I must get some rest, 
or I would not be able to lead the party farther. 
Going to the little camp and awakening Ginger, 
I led him out to where I had been watching-, 
and told him to keep moving back and forth a 
short distance from the road, and in case of 
danger raise the alarm. Then, returning to 
camp, I threw myself on the ground and fell 
asleep. 



XVIII 
RETAKEN 

I WAS awakened by the kick of a heavy 
boot, and, opening my eyes, looked into the 
face of Tom Jaycox. The expression of fiend- 
isli joy that shone through anxious caution 
froze the very marrow of my bones. The 
muzzle of his revolver was within a few inches 
of my forehead, and his look told me that a 
word of alarm or a motion for self-defence 
would be a signal for a bullet to go crashing 
through my brain. 

" Git up," he whispered. 

I stood on my feet. 

" Move on." 

It was the dawn of a beautiful spring morn- 
ing. The perfume of young verdure, the twit- 
ter of birds, an occasional cock-crow in the 
distance, gave me the thought that it is de- 
lightful to live. But they threw over me as 
well a contrasting gloom, for it seemed certain 



BETAKEN 185 

that this fair scene was the last of those pict- 
ures drawn by the divinely artistic hand of 
the Creator that I should ever look upon. My 
companions were all wrapt in a heavy slumber, 
induced by a long period of unrest. I bade a 
mute farewell to each as I passed, breathing 
a blessing on little Buck, whose arms were 
clasped about his sister, his young face and 
figure relaxed ; on Jaqueline, her white face 
resting in a profusion of tumbled black hair; 
on Helen, her features strong even in sleep. 
There was a line between the lids of Helen's 
eyes ; but I thought little of that, for it is not 
unusual for people to show this line when 
sleeping. I thanked God that my presence 
would no longer be a menace to these dear 
ones who had suffered so much for me. 

Jaycox marched me out of the camp tow- 
ards the road, across it, and into a w^ood on the 
other side, where his horse was picketed to a 
tree. He was constantly looking about and 
listening, and I inferred this was for others of 
the gang, who had doubtless separated in order 
to cover more ground in their search for us. 
Finally the brute stood still, and, pointing his 
revolver straight at me, fired two shots in rapid 
succession, the bullets singing close to my ears. 



186 SWEET REVENGE 

He did not intend to kill me, though he was 
indifferent whether he did or not ; he wished 
to serve a double purpose of signalling the 
band and intimidating me. Two similar shots 
were fired far to the north, and then m^^ cap- 
tor started off with me in that direction. 

Entering the road we proceeded, Jaycox, 
some ten yards behind me, amusing himself 
by firing occasional shots at me, evidently try- 
ing to see how near he could come to me with- 
out hitting me. One of his bullets grazed my 
ear, and I felt blood trickling on my collar, 
good evidence that he had missed his imagi- 
nary mark on the wrong side. He was doubt- 
less firing for his double purpose of letting his 
companions know of his whereabouts and of 
torturing me. His signals and those of my 
other enemies were drawing nearer and nearer 
too:ether. I did not doubt tliat the o-uerrillas 
would prevent any further opportunity for 
escape by murdering me at once, though they 
might delay long enough to force me to sign for 
a ransom which would have no effect in saving: 
me. I lost all care whether Ja3'cox hit me, or 
whether I was spared for a more horrible 
death by the gang. At last I was face to face 
with the inevitable. 



RETAKEN 187 

I was trudging on mechanically^ my eyes bent 
on the ground, Jaycox close behind swearing 
and shooting at me, when snddenlv a shot ransr 
out from behind us both. I turned and saw 
Jaycox tumble from the saddle. Running to 
where he lay I bent over him, and knew at 
once that I looked into the face of a dying 
man. He gave me one malignant look, a shiv- 
er passed over him, and his eyes were set in 
death. 

I looked up, and saw Helen standing in the 
road a short distance back with a carbine in 
her hands. There was something in the ex- 
pression of her face, holding as she did the 
weapon, a light smoke curling from its muzzle, 
that brought vividly before me my enemy with 
his smoking pistol on the night of the massacre. 
A signal shot came from around the trees so 
near that we knew the rest of the band would 
soon be upon us. Quick as thought I sprang 
into the saddle left vacant by Jaycox, and 
spurred towards Helen, she darting into the 
wood, I following, and, after i^enetrating far 
enough, both hiding behind a rock covered 
with brush. 

A horseman came dashing down the road, 
pulled up beside Jaycox's body, looked around 



188 SWEET REVENGE 

anxiously as though fearing an ambush, then 
hurried back wlience he carae. 

With one impulse Helen and I sprang into 
each other's arras. Oh, tlie rapture of that 
embrace ! I essayed to speak to her, to utter 
even a word, an exclamation expressive of 
what I felt. I could only draw her cheek 
down against mine and mutely hold it there. 
Then I showered kisses on her lips, her cheeks, 
her forehead, her eyes. For the moment I 
forgot all but the reverence, the gratitude, 
the burning passion, tliat thrilled me — a pas- 
sion such as comes but once, if ever, in a life- 
time. 

Suddenly there came to Helen a remem- 
brance of our danger. 

" Mount ! quick ! All depends on })utting 
space between you and those who will kill you 
the moment they get their hands on you 
again !" 

" And leave you ? ISTot I." 

" Oh, my God ! are you going to act that 
way again ?" 

" You have killed Jaj'cox and released mo a 
second time. Do you suppose they will over- 
look that V' 

She became frantic at my opposition. 



RETAKEN 189 

" You fool ! you ingrate ! to throw away 
your life when I have twice saved it." 

" We will go together. Here, put your foot 
in my hand. Once in the saddle you can ride 
away, while I can go as fast on foot as j^ou." 

" Hark !" 

There were sounds of horses' hoofs com- 
ing leisurely from the south, and in another 
moment a mounted man in Confederate uni- 
form emerged from behind the trees, loitering 
along, the picture of indolence. 

"Look!" said Helen, her eyes fixed eagerly 
on the advancing figure. " It's — " 

"Captain Beaumont, as I live!" 

.Never for a moment doubting that he was 
followed by his troopers, and infinitely pre- 
ferrino^ to fall into his hands rather than into 
the guerrillas', 1 hailed him. He reined in, 
stared at us, recognized us, and, after sitting 
for a moment in mute astonishment, rode tow- 
ards us. 

" What in the name of — " 

" Your men — where are they ?" gasped 
Helen. 

" I have no men, I sent them back yester- 
day. We have hunted you fo' — " 

" Tiien dismount, captain," I said-, " and be 



190 SWEET REVENGE 

quick. There are guerrillas up there. They 
may murder you as well as us." 

" My dear man," he said, dismounting lei- 
surely, " yo' are always in a hurry. By-the-bye, 
where is tha^fascinating little creature — " 

" Oh, captain," cried Helen, "a life — both 
our lives are at stake !" 

"What can I do fo' yo'?" asked the captain, 
at last impressed with our excited appearance. 

By this time the guerrillas had come up to 
Jaycox's body, and stood alternately looking 
at it and casting glances into the wood on 
either side of the road. They raised him, felt 
of his heart, knew that he was dead, and 
dropped him. 

" It's Jaycox," I whispered to the captain. 
" He kidnapped me to - day a second time. 
This brave girl followed and shot him. In a 
few minutes they will scour the wood. We 
have but one horse. It will never carry us 
both swiftly enough for escape." 

" I relinquish my horse with pleasure, of 
co'se. May I assist — " 

Helen's foot was in my hand and she in the 
saddle before he could finish ; then I sprang 
upon the other horse. 

" Would you oblige me,'' the captain called 



RETAKEN 191 

after us, as we hurried away, " b}^ informing 
me where I can find that httle beauty — " 

"Over there — in a pocket between knolls 
— half a mile — • tell them we'll join them 
later." 

I can see him now, with his hand on his 
heart, bowing profoundly, and, notwithstand- 
ing a shudder at remembering the danger we 
were in, cannot repress a smile at the comical 
situation of this man who a few days before 
had ordered me out to be shot, then had of- 
fered to lend me money, and now, giving me 
his horse to save my life, was about to start 
off hunting for Jaqueline in the Cumberland 
mountains. 

Helen and I, riding side by side, dashed 
through brush, between trees, over rocks, run- 
nels, rotting trunks of trees, our only thought 
to put space between us and our enemies. She 
was riding on a man's saddle, sidewise, lucki- 
ly supported b}^ a high pommel and holster, 
keeping her balance as if bred to the " ring." 
I reached out m}^ hand ; she gave me hers 
to press, and a lover's look, intensified by our 
danger, shot between us. It was only for an 
instant, for so rough was the ground, so nu- 
merous the obstructions, that we were oblit!:ed 



193 SWEET REVENGE 

to keep oar eyes constantly fixed ahead. There 
had been exciting moments since my first ab- 
duction, but nothing like the wild exhilaration 
that thrilled me now. I forgot tlie barrier 
that was still between us, thinking only that 
if this one ride were successful years of hap- 
piness might be in store for us. 

"Wondering if we were followed, I drew rein 
and listened. We could distinctly hear the 
brush breaking in our rear. Again we pushed 
forward. 

It occurred to me that we were <]:oinf]: direct- 
ly from our camp, and that the greater chance 
for safety, both immediate and ultimate, would 
be in hiding, with a view to inducing the 
guerrillas to pass us, thus affording an oppor- 
tunity to return and join forces with our 
friends. Approaching a clump of wood skirted 
by open ground, a plan flashed through my 
brain to utilize both in order to elude our pur- 
suers. 

" Your bonnet!" I cried to Helen. 

She tossed it to me. 

" Now ride straight for that thicket." 

Spurring my horse to the utmost, I made a 
circuit, dropping the bonnet, and, a trifle far- 
ther on, my hat. He.len entered the wood, 



KETAKEN 193 

and I, wheeling, dashed in on the farther side 
and rejoined her. Jerking off my coat, I 
wrapped it about my horse's ears and eyes to 
prevent his neighing to those approaching, 
and Helen, divining my intention, did the 
same to her own mount with her jacket. Then 
we stood waiting, not a sound escaping from 
either us or our horses, even their panting 
deadened b}'^ the covering. It was either life 
or death, with the chances in favor of death, 
We stood, hand in hand, looking straight into 
each other's eyes. In that moment of supreme 
suspense it was as if but one being waited for 
the result. 

An exclamation : they have seen the bon- 
net ! A shout : they have come upon the hat ! 
They clatter on. Wait. A man in the rear is 
coming. He too passes, his horse's hoof-beats 
dying in the distance. 

Leaving the thicket, we made straight for 
the camp, and in a few minutes dashed in u^Jon 
our companions. 



XIX 
BUCK'S INDISCRETION 

Captain Beaumont had arrived but a few 
minutes before us, and when we appeared was 
attempting to reassure Jack, who had com- 
pletel}'^ collapsed at finding that both Helen 
and I had disappeared. He went to Helen 
and politely offered to assist her to alight. 

" We must move out of this at once," I said. 
" All depends upon our getting down the 
mountain and into some town, where these 
villains will not dare follow iis. All stay here 
■while I reconnoitre." 

I had not dismounted, and spurred my horse 
a few hundred yards westward, where I paused 
on the verge of the plateau. The sun Avas 
rising at my back, and was pouring a flood of 
light on the lowlands a thousand feet below, 
1 swept my eye over the rolling fields and 
woodland dotted with towns, villages, ham- 
lets, and many a fair plantation with its manor- 
house surrounded by the huts of the field- 



BUCK S INDISCRETION 195 

hands. Far in the distance was a snakelike 
line in the road, moving forward, it seemed, as 
a reptile crawls — the cavalry that we had so 
nearly caught the day before, now on their 
way back to join the main force. I longed for 
a speaking-trumpet sonorous enough to reach 
them, but there was no hope for us now in 
them, and I brushed away disappointment and 
made a survey of the ground directly before 
me. Nothing but steep incline, so thickly 
wooded that the character of the ground was 
completely hidden. On either hand Avas a 
mountain spur, between Avhich ran a creek. I 
hesitated between taking one of these spurs 
and following the bed of the creek. On the 
spurs we might be seen ; by the creek we would 
be concealed under the trees. I decided in 
favor of the latter. Eeturning to camp I in- 
formed the party of my decision. 

"Will you join us, Captain Beaumont?"! 
asked. 

" I've been hunting fo' yo' all fo' days," re- 
plied the captain, looking at Jack. " Now I've 
found yo' I'm not likely to part with yo'l 
Together we can whip the guerrillas." 

" Not a dozen of them. Besides, we've had 
enough of that." 



196 SWEET REVENGE 

" What are you going to do with the horses ?" 
asked Helen. 

" Mount the ladies," suggested the captain. 

"Thank yo','' observed Jack, "I don't care 
to ride on a horse with his nose pointing to 
China and his tail at the stars." 

" No one could ride a horse over such a 
route," said I. " I'll take care of the stock." 

I tethered them in the little poclcet we were 
leaving, knowing that they were less likely to 
betray our whereabouts to our enemies there 
than if I turned them loose. 

" They'll starve," Jack remonstrated. 

"I can't help it." 

"They shall not!" 

"Come, we have no time to lose." 

But Jack set about collecting Avhat little 
grass was to be had and piling it before them. 
The captain, seeing her determination, was 
soon on his knees gathering grass and throw- 
ing it in her apron, 

" I hope the delay will not cost us our lives," 
I grumbled. " Now, Ginger, I Avant you to go 
off to the right just as far as you can, and still 
keep me in sight. Buck, you go to the left and 
do the same, but keep close, for it won't do for 
us to call to each other." 



buck's indiscretion 197 

" Jack can make all sorts o' noises— cats, 'n' 
owls, 'n' birds — so yo' can't tell 'em," Buck vol- 
unteered. 

" Good ! "We may have occasion to use her. 
You girls keep behind about the same distance 
as oar flankers. When we get to the creek 
Ginger is to work down it on the right bank, 
Buck on the left, while I keep as near the 
creek as possible. Captain Beaumont, will you 
act as rear-guard ?" 

" With pleasure, sir." 

'* He'll go to sleep," remarked Jack, " and 
be left behind." 

"Not with you in front," said the captain, 
looking at her reproachfully. 

I gave the order to move. Making as little 
noise as possible, keeping each other in sight, 
except occasionally when the trees and under- 
brush were too thick, we proceeded to the 
brow of the plateau. Descending, we soon 
struck the creek, and under cover of the trees 
proceeded downward in open order, walking 
rapidly, keeping a sharp lookout ahead and on 
the flanks. "We had not gone far before an 
owl hooted behind me, and so natural was the 
cry that, had I not been expecting it, I should 
never have suspected it to have come from the 



198 SWEET REVENGE 

throat of Jaqueline. Turning, I saw both girls 
pointing upward. On the very edge of the 
declivity, and not far from w^hei-e Ave had be- 
gun our descent, a man was looking down 
from the plateau. We were so protected that 
he could not see us, for, besides being among 
the trees, we were in comparative shadow, 
while the man above stood out boldly in the 
light. He did not look like a guerrilla, but we 
hurried on. 

Discovering a great advantage in Jack's 
signals, I called in the flankers and the rear- 
guard, and arranged with them that Jack was 
to travel with me as trumpeter. The hoot of 
an owl would mean "hide"; a woodpecker's 
rapping, "rally on the centre"; the notes of a 
thrush, " take a back track "; a hen's cackling, 
" push forward in haste." These signals be- 
ing perfectly understood, we opened again, and 
advanced like a central sun and satellites. 

We had made the principal part of the de- 
scent, when, coming to a convenient spot, I 
ordered a halt for rest, feeling a confidence 
that I had not felt since my abduction — a con- 
fidence I should not have yielded to, for we 
were yet far from safety. The place of our 
halt was a delightful angle in the stream Ave 



BUCK S INDISCKETION 199 

Avere following. Jack strolled away in search 
of wild flowers, and was soon joined by Cap- 
tain Beaumont, whose infatuation prevented 
him from thinkin"' of auo;ht else, even our 
common danger. Buck stretched himself un- 
der a short mountain oak, clasped his hands 
under his head, threw one leg over the bent 
knee of the other, and looked straight up into 
the branches. Helen and I were thus left 
alone. We sat down on the bank of the creek 
in view of the bubbling stream. Takino; a 
slender stick in her hand, Helen began to 
thrash the Avater. I saw that she was trou- 
bled, and I knew the cause. The barrier be- 
tween us, which in a moment of intense excite- 
ment had faded out of sight, now loomed up 
again as ominously as ever. "We sat without 
speaking. Jack and the captain were chatting 
briskly, every now and again speaking loud 
enough for us to hear some word that told of 
the captain's enthralment. The silence be- 
tween Helen and myself grew painful ; I could 
say nothing to break the spell. I could but 
mutely express what I felt. Beaching out, I 
took her hand and drew her to me. 

A shot ! 

Looking upward to the plateau, I saw a 



300 SWEET EEVENOE 

horseman (lashing off to the spur north of us, 
whose ridge led to the level ground we were 
approaching. It was plain that we had been 
discovered, that the shot was a signal, and the 
horseman was going to head us off. 

The trouble had all come from Buck. I 
have no doubt we should have given the guer- 
rillas the slip had it not been for his folly. 
There are certain idiosyncrasies in boys that 
are as natural to them as for a duck to swim 
or a robin to ^y. Unfortunately, at a critical 
moment, Buck encountered an incident that 
called out one of these idiosyncrasies. Gazing 
into the branches of the tree under which he 
lay, he espied a bird's-nest. Unluckily he no- 
ticed that a rock which admitted of a gradual 
ascent stood directly under the tree. Climb- 
ing the rock, he made his way among the 
branches, and, leaning far out where the briglit 
sun could sliine directly on him, grasped for 
the treasure. Our enemy, who was at the 
time watching from the plateau, discovered 
him. 

Calling the party together, I gave the order 
to push forward ; not that there seemed to be 
any object in doing so, for we must expect to 
meet our pursuers ; but. we could not go back, 



BUCK S INDISCRETION 201 

and could not stay where we were. Besides, 
motion would tend to pull together the facul- 
ties of the party, every one of whom was ap- 
palled at this relapse into the frightful dan- 
gers they had so long endured ; though Captain 
Beaumont showed only irritation at having his 
tete-a-tete with Jack interrupted. 

We had not gone far before we struck a path 
running parallel with the creek, Avhich led us 
to a hamlet on a road leading north and 
south. There were but half a dozen houses 
in the place, including a small country store 
and a blacksmith-shop. Before entering the 
town we consulted as to w^hat w^e should 
do. 

" Get horses," I proposed, " if there is time." 

" Or a horse and wagon," said Helen. 

" I reckon we better hide," was Buck's prop- 
osition. 

"• Let's get clothes," suggested Jack, " and 
dress up like village people." 

I looked at Helen. Jack's proposition ap- 
peared to strike her with the same force it 
struck me. Of all things the guerrillas would 
expect us to do, disguising ourselves and going 
about the town as if we belonged there would 
be the last. 



202 SWEET REVENGE 

" Done !'' I said, as we entered the place. 
" Scatter. Tell the people the guerrillas are 
after us, and they'll help us. We'll have from 
ten to fifteen minutes to prepare." 



XX 
A MASQUERADE 

What became of the others I did not at- 
tempt to discover. I made straight for the 
blacksmith-shop and found a smith at his 
forge. 

" My good man," I said, *' I'm followed by 
guerrillas. They'll be in the town in a few 
minutes. Can't you give me your clothes and 
let me take your place at the forge ?" 

He stood, with his hand on the handle of 
the bellows looking at me, while what I said 
was slowly making its way through his skull. 

" Weel noo," he said, at last. 

" Scotch— I knew it. I'll be taken before I 
can make him understand." Then to him : 
"Do you want to save me from death by 
guerrillas ?" 

" Certain, mon." 

" Then take off that apron and give it to me 
at once. Xot a moment to lose." 



204 SWEET REVENGE 

At this juncture the desperate position I 
was in entered his brain, and he worked quick- 
ly enough once he reahzed what was wanted. I 
saw a woollen shirt, well begrimed, hanging on 
a nail, and, seizing it, put it on. Then I took 
the smith's apron, rolled up my sleeves, smeared 
my arms with cinders, and looked into a bit 
of broken mirror resting against the wooden 
wall to observe the effect. I was disappointed 
to see that my face belied my calling. 

" Your razor !" I exclaimed to the black- 
smith. 

He went through a door leading from the 
shop to his dwelling and returned with a ra- 
zor, soap, and hot water. In five minutes I 
had shorn my beard, leaving a dark stubble, 
then, seizing a handful of coke, rubbed out 
every refined lineament. Taking another look 
at myself I was pleased to see that my own 
mother would not know me. Seizing the 
handle of the bellows, I began to blow vigor- 
ously. 

'" Weel, weel," laughed the blacksmith, "ye 
mak' a better-lo'ken smith than geentlemon." 

" Play your own part well," I replied, "and 
I have something nice for you at the end of 
the performance." 



A MASQUERADE 205 

It was fully fifteen minutes after we reached 
the hamlet before there were any signs of the 
guerrillas, and then three or four rode into 
the town and asked for our party. Had they 
seen us ? "Which way had we gone ? and other 
questions, which the few people they met re- 
sponded to with a grunt or a shake of the 
head. I put ray head out to see, and. recog- 
nizing one of them, drew back and began to 
blow my bellows as if my life depended on it. 
And it did. Presently one of the outlaws rode 
up to the shop. 

"Hello, thar!" he shouted. 

" "Wall," I replied, still blowing and keeping 
my face turned from him. 

"Seen a man, two women, a bo}^, 'n' a nig- 
ger go through the town ?" 

" Hain't seen no one." 

" Sho' V 

" Sho' nuff." 

He rode off, but I knew the storm had not 
yet blown over. I went on working the bel- 
lows, and it was well I did so, for presently 
more of tlie band rode into town, and one of 
the horses having lost a shoe, its rider dis- 
mounted in front of the shop and told me to 
put it on. 



206 SWEET KEVENGE 

This was something I had not counted on. 
I knew no more about horseshoeing than 
about knitting, but I put a bold face on the 
matter and went to work. 

" What the you doen' ?" yelled the man. 

" Air y' goen"' ter put that shoe on with nary 
trimmen' V 

"Don't y' s'pose I know my business?" I 
cried, bristling. " I was only fitten' it." 

With that I seized a knife and began to cut. 
But I was too excited to pare the hoof even if 
I had been an expert, and in another moment 
the man yelled again, " Ef yo' cut that critter's 
hoof off I'll brain yo\" 

" Here, Sand}^" I cried to the blacksmith 
within, "come shoe this man's critter; he 
thinks he knows more 'n I do about shoe'n'." 

The blacksmith finished the job while I, pre- 
tending to be greatly irritated, was glad to 
escape into his dwelling-house. Going to a 
front window and dropping a curtain so that 
I could look into the road without being seen, 
I took a view of the situation. The guerrillas 
were scattered about the town, some riding 
around the houses hunting for us, others sit- 
ting on their horses, questioning the inhabi- 
tants as to our whereabouts. Captain Ringold 



A MASQUERADE 207 

was in command. A negro boy was playing 
"hop-scotch" on the sidewalk. The captain 
called to him : 

" Yo' boy thar! Didn't yo' see anybod}^ go 
this way a while ago ?" 

" Two women 'n' a boy 'bout 's big 's me ?" 

"Yes." 

" 'N' a white man 'n' a colored man ?" 

" Yes ; which way did they go ?" 

"Dey's gwine right 'long dar;" and he 
pointed to a path leading across the road 
westward. 

" Here, you," cried the captain to two men 
who were watering their horses at a wooden 
trough in front of the shop, " strike out on 
that path." 

The men darted away, leaving the captain 
alone in the road. A little old woman came 
out of a house opposite and began to guy him 
in a cracked voice, poking fun at him for not 
being able to catch a party of women. She 
talked so familiarly with him that I besfan to 
suspect she knew him. I trembled for fear 
she would betray us. 

" You uns ain't wo'th a persimmon," she 
said ; " with them critters' legs under yer, y' 
orter ketch wimmen folks easy." 



208 SWEET REVENGE 

"We'll catch 'em easy enough; they've 
gone along thar," pointing to the path his 
men were just dashing into. 

" Th' didn't go that a-way." 

" They didn't ? Which way did they go ?" 

" D' y' s'pose I give fac's fo' nothen' ?" 

A cold chill ran down my back ; she was 
going to tell for pay. 

" What do yo' want ?" 

" Gimme 'nuff fo' a caliker dress 'n* I'll put 
yer on th' right track." 

" Sho' ?" 

"Sart'in." 

"This '11 git it as easy." He drew a re- 
volver and put it to her face. She drew back. 
But this man, who was above his calling, never 
could persist in ill-treating a woman, and, low- 
ering his weapon, he put his hand in his pocket 
and pulled out a bill. 

" That's the stuff ter git fac's with," said the 
woman. " Now you uns git right 'long thar," 
and she pointed up the road northward. 

" That won't do,'' said the captain ; " we just 
came from up thar." 

There was a pause, at the end of which I 
heard the woman sav, in a low tone : 

"Captain!" 



A MASQUERADE 209 

The voice was familiar. I saw the man 
start, then exclaim, " Great God !" 

The old woman Avent over to him, and, tak- 
ing hold of his bridle-rein, began to whisper to 
him earnestly. Presently I heard the captain 
say : 

" I can't do it." 

There was more whispering, and b}^ the wom- 
an's attitude I knew she was pleading. Was 
she pleading for us? If so, who could this 
good friend be to take so much interest in us ? 

" I'd do 't fo' yo' and yo' friend, but not the 
other one." 

She fumbled with the rein, she stroked his 
horse's neck, she laid her hand on his, all the 
while talking earnestly and looking up into his 
eyes, I fancied beseechingly, though I could 
not see her face, for her back was towards 
me, while the man's head was drooping lower 
and lower. Her bonnet fell back on her neck, 
and I knew the old woman was Jaqueline. 

"Can yo' refuse when / ask it?" she said, 
loud enough for me to hear. 

The man was silent. The struggle within 
him was plain in every line of his face. At 
last he said : 

" Fo' yo' sake, little one, I'll do it." 



210 SWEET REVENGE 

She took his rough brown hand in her little 
white one and bent her head down upon it ; 
then looking up through tears : " I can give 
yo' only a trifle in reward, captain dear ; kiss 
me." 

Bending from his saddle, he reverently 
touched his lips to her forehead. 

Lost in wonder at the strange sight, I was 
nevertheless congratulating myself that she 
had secured the man's promise to draw off liis 
force, when the whole advantage was spoiled 
through the insane jealousy of Captain Beau- 
mont. It seems that the captain had dis- 
dained to hide Avith the rest ; indeed, he had 
no occasion to hide. The guerrillas did not 
know that he was with our party, and he was 
in no more danger from them than any other 
man would be. He had, however, yielded to 
Jack's persuasion to go into a house and keep 
out of sight. When the guerrillas rode into 
town he was sitting by a window sipping a 
glass of Tennessee whiskey, and at the moment 
Ringold imprinted the kiss on Jack's forehead, 
as ill-luck would have it, he happened to look 
out of the window. In another moment he was 
in the road, discharging his revolver at the guer- 
rilla, who, drawing his own weapon, returned 



A MASQUERADE 311 

the fire. A fusillade followed, Ringold re- 
ceiving a wound that put him hors de combat. 
Swaying in his saddle, he fell fainting to the 
ground. 

Jaqueline turned upon Beaumont like a fury. 
I have seen little Jaclv in many a towering 
passion, but never anything like this. Her 
face was livid, her eyes flaming. She tried to 
speak, but her ire choked her. At last, one 
word expressive of her pent-up feelings came 
out like a pistol-shot : 

"Pier!" 

Having thus relieved herself to Captain 
Beaumont, she turned to the prostrate Rin- 
gold, knelt beside him, crooning over him as 
if he had been dearer to her than all the world 
beside. 

At this moment a guerrilhi, who had doubt- 
less been attracted by the firing, dashed down 
the road. Beaumont caught sight of him just 
as Jack had hurled her opprobrious epithet. 
With an expression indicating that he would 
prefer death to another such word from the girl 
v.dio had enthralled him, he started to meet tlie 
invader. Shots were exchanged, and the guer- 
rilla fell from the saddle. He was followed 
by another who shared the same fate, while a 



212 SWEET KEVENGE 

third, perhaps fancying that he had struck a 
troop of Confederate soldiers, turned and fled. 
All this happened so quickly that no one but 
Beaumont and tiie three bandits had an op- 
portunity to take a hand in the fight. When 
there were no more guerrillas for the captain 
to kill, he went shyly back to Jack, Avho had wit- 
nessed his feat, looking like a school-boy who 
had done penance for a fault and wanted for- 
giveness. But Jack turned her back on him. 

When the firing began, with one bound, dis- 
guised and begrimed as I was, I cleared my 
window. When Ringold fell I was joined by 
the other members of our ])arty from the 
houses. Buck had blackened himself for a 
negro, and it was he who had answered Bin- 
gold's questions. Helen and Ginger had hid- 
den without disguise. The peo])le of the town, 
one man and eight women, besides children, 
rushed into the road. I knew well that the 
absence of the guerrillas Avas but temporar}^ — 
that they would soon come down on us in a 
body. 

"We have no time to lose," I cried. "We 
must get aw^ay at once." 

"Where?" 

"Anywhere." 



A MASQUERADE 213 

Turning to the townspeople, I asked if they 
could furnish a conveyance. 

"I've a horse and wagon in ray shed," said 
the smith. 

" Out with it, quick !" 

Every one of us took a hand in harnessing 
the team, and in three minutes, by the clock, 
we had finished. Then we all tumbled in ex- 
cept Jack, who declared she would never leave 
her friend Captain Ringold. There was no 
time to bandy words, so I took her up and 
tossed her into the wagon, where she fell in 
a heap. Rising on her knees, she shook her 
clinched fist at me, and cried to the wounded 
guerrilla that she would come back to him as 
soon as she could get away. Meanwhile the 
blacksmith was driving us down the road, be- 
laboring his horse with the stump of an old 
whip. 



XXI 

A STERN -CHASE 

A STRAIGHT road lay before us to Decherd, a 
few miles distant. The place was of too great 
importance for the guerrillas to dare enter, 
and if we could reach it before they could 
catch us we should be safe. 

" How much is 3'our horse worth ?" I asked 
the blacksmith. 

" A matter o' saxt}'^ dullars." 

" If you kill him b}^ hard driving I'll give 
you a hundred, and if you get us to Decherd 
before the outlaws can catch us I'll make it a 
hundred more." 

"Weel, noo, I don't want to be hard on a 
mon flyen for his life, and wimmen folk, too ; 
I'll do the best I can, and ask no money." 

With that he belabored the poor horse's 
flanks with the stump of his whip, and sent 
him galloping onward. There were no springs 
to the wagon, but we valued our lives too well 



A STERN-CHASE 215 

to draw rein at rut or stone. At one part of 
the road I feared that if we did not check our 
pace we would break a wheel, and be left with 
no means to get on, save our legs. I cautioned 
the driver to slacken his pace, but hearing, or 
fancying he heard, the clattering of horses' 
hoofs behind, without a word from me he ap- 
plied the lash. Now we bounded into the air, 
and now we were tossed together like dice in 
a box. 

" Git 'oop, ye critter !" cried the blacksmith, 
mingling Scotch and Tennessee. "Don't ye 
know ye're draggen' bonny leddies fly en' for 
their lives?" and down came the butt of the 
whip. It was harrowing to see a horse forced 
to o^ive his life to save ours : but our situation 
was too critical to warrant any slackening of 
speed. Jack, who of all our force was usually 
most frightened at danger ahead, and would 
fight it most vigorously when face to face 
with it, for once acted in reverse at seeing the 
poor brute making leaps that were killing him. 

" Stop beating that horse, you brute," she 
cried, " or I'll beat you," and she sprang for- 
ward to seize the whip. I caught her in my 
arms. She looked up into my face, and burst 
into tears. Whether it was wholly sympathy 



216 SWEET REVENGE 

or overstrained nerves I did not know — proba- 
bly both. At any rate, I protected her from 
the jolting by keeping her in my arms, wliile 
she hid her face so that she could not see the 
suffering horse. 

" Jack," said Buck, " you're nothing but a 
baby.'' 

" Shut up, yo' little nigger !" she cried. 

I could not repress a smile at the retort, see- 
ing which. Jack realized the absurdity of it 
all, and broke into a laugh, while the tears con- 
tinued to run down her cheeks, 

" AYon't yo' let me support yo' against the 
jolting?" asked Captain Beaumont, ruefully. 

" Yo' ? Do yo' suppose I'd let you touch me? 
Yo' shot my best friend." 

''Do yo' dislike me fo' shooting — a robber?" 
asked her admirer, sadly. 

"I hateyo'." 

Beaumont settled down in a corner of the 
wagon in despondency. After a while Jaclc 
slid down beside him, Avhereupon he suddenly 
lighted up and took as much interest in our 
flight as any one of the party. 

We were a wild-looking load to the few peo- 
ple who passed us, "Whenever we saw a farm- 
wagon coming or going we would shout to its 



A STEKN-CHASE 217 

driver to get out of the way. They must have 
supposed our horse to be a runaway, for every 
one quickly turned aside. There are pictures 
of that ride which I can see to-day, so vividly 
were they stamped on my memory. An old 
man with his hands on the handle of his plough 
gaped through iron-rimmed spectacles ; a wom- 
an in a check gown and sunbonnet stopped trim- 
ming plants in her garden, and stood, with the 
shears in her hand, to gape at us, as if Ave Avere 
a party of witches who had lit on the earth 
from the moon, and were making ready to 
take to the sky again. Negroes, children, 
country lads faced the road as Ave passed, and 
stood Avonder-stricken till we were out of sioht. 

Coming to a rise in the ground where Ave 
could look to our rear for perhaps a mile, we 
were terror-stricken to see a man shoot around 
a bend in the road at a gallop. In a moment 
another followed. We could not see if there 
Avere any more, for we passed oA^er the summit. 
Not far beloAv a mile-stone told us that it Avas 
one mile to Decherd. 

" One mile to their two. Can Ave not do it, 
driver r' I asked, quickly. 

The only answer Avas another " Git oop," 
and renewed hammering on the horse's rump. 



218 SWEET KEVENGE 

The eyes of all were strained to the rear, 
watching to see just Avhat chance there was, 
from time to time, between life and death, 
while I examined the carbines, which we had 
taken care to bring with us, to discov^er if they 
were in good condition. At every rise we 
could see either one or more men coming like 
the wind. They had evidently caught sight of 
us, and were straining every nerve to catch us 
before we reached Decherd. I told the black- 
smith to lay it on hard, well know^ing that be- 
tween us and our pursuers was only the life of 
his horse. He was raising his whip when the 
horse stumbled and fell, pitching most of us 
out of the wagon, fortunately on soft ground. 
Getting up and running to the prostrate ani- 
mal I found him stone-dead. 

We were still a quarter of a mile from the 
town, and the guerrillas would be on us in a 
jiffy. Calling to the others to help, I turned 
the wagon across the road and directed all to 
take position behind it. Distributing the guns, 
we waited the coming of the advance of our 
enemies. Three men, pretty near together, 
catching sight of us, drew rein and waited for 
their comrades. Others soon came up, and I 
counted seven men preparing to charge us. I 



A STERN-CHASE 219 

was about to give an order as to the firing 
when I heard an exclamation from Ginger: 

"Bressde Lawd!" 

Turning, I saw a troop of cavalry carrying 
the Stars and Stripes riding leisurely from the 
town. I fired a shot to attract their attention. 
Suddenly they seemed to take in the situation; 
I heard the sharp word of command, and saw 
them coming at a gallop. Glancing at the 
guerrillas, I saw them vanishing in the dis- 
tance. 

" Saved !" I cried. 

" De bressed Lawd be t'anked !" shouted 
Ginger. 

"Gol darn it," said Buck, "ef I'd 'a' had a 
shot I'd 'a' plunked one of "em." 

" By Jove," remarked Beaumont, staring at 
the approaching troopers, " I'm a prisoner !" 

There was a puff of smoke among the re- 
treating guerrillas, the crack of a carbine, and 
Jack fell into Helen's arms. 

Never was the pleasure of hard-earned suc- 
cess more cruelly dashed at the moment of 
triumph. We had fought these fiends off for 
days ; we had escaped from them to a covet- 
ed protection, and now, at the last moment, 
they had struck us severely. Jaqueline lay on 



220 SWEET REVENGE 

the grass, her head and shoulders resting on 
Helen's arm, who stanched the blood which 
flowed from a wound in her side. I bent over 
her with a groan. Captain Beaumont for a 
moment seemed fired to chase the man who 
had shot her, then joined those about the 
wounded girl, muttering imprecations on the 
guerrillas, and incoherently begging us to save 
his little Jaqueline. 

" A surgeon !" I cried to the troopers, who 
were sitting on their horses looking on. 
"Some one go for a surgeon." 

"Ride quick!'' said the captain in command, 
turning to the man nearest him, "and bring 
a doctor and a conveyance from the town. 
Then to an officer : " Lieutenant, follow those 
men, and don't come back till you have capt- 
ured every one of them. Take twent}'' men 
with the best horses. With fresh mounts you 
can run them all down." 

A man dashed off towards the town and 
twenty more after the retreating guerrillas. 
Jack lay with her head on Helen's shoulder, 
her eyes closed, her face white as a cloth, we 
all about her, dreading every moment that the 
life-blood would run out. Presently she opened 
her e^'es, looked about her, then fainted away. 



A STEEN-CHASE 221 

" Oh, ray God !" cried Beaumont, " she's 
gone." 

" Keep off," cried Helen, " and give her air." 

" Jack," cried Buck, terrified at her ghastly 
appearance, " wake up !" 

I, with a soldier's knowledge of the thirst of 
a wounded person, dashed away in a hunt for 
water. I found a well in a yard on the out- 
skirts of the town, and drawing the staple to 
the chain that held a tin cup, brought a plenti- 
ful supply. Helen was still supporting her 
cousin. Buck w^as striding about nervously, 
■with his hands thrust down into his pockets, 
while Captain Beaumont was kneeling, his eyes 
peering into Jack's as though by his gaze he 
would hold the life that he dreaded was ebb- 
ing away. I sprinkled water in her face, and 
she opened her eyes, looking about her as if 
unable to understand her surroundino^s. 

CD 

"What's the matter?" 

Curiousl}'" enough, the words were the same 
as those I had first heard her utter when, 
wounded, I reclined on a sofa at her home. 

" You're hurt. Jack," said Helen. 

"Am I going to die V 

" Oh no, dear, I hope not." 

" Don't die," said Beaumont, in a broken 



222 SWEET KEVENGE 

voice. "Don't leave me; I couldn't bear 
it." 

She looked up into his face sadly. " I have 
been a bad girl to you, captain. Forgive me." 

"Forgive you? I love even your harsh 
words." 

" Oh, Helen," she said, " I hope I Avon't 
die." 

" You won't, surely, Jack." 

" Because if I do, I can't dance any mo' fo' 
the colored people. Who'll look out fo' 'em, 
Helen? Papa's away, and no one else cares 
fo' 'em as he and I do." 

" They'll have you with them for many a 
year. Jack." 

An open wagon appeared in the road and 
drove up beside us. A doctor with a satch- 
el in his hand got down and approaclied 
Jaqueline. Making a hasty examination of 
the wound, he bandaged it, then told us to lift 
her into the vehicle. The seats, except the 
front one, had been removed, and their cush- 
ions placed on the bottom. Some of the 
cavalrymen tossed in their blankets, and I 
smoothed them over the cushions, making a 
comparatively comfortable bed. We placed 
little Jack upon it; Helen got in with her, and 



A STERN-CHASE 223 

the rest of us walking beside, the cavalry act- 
ing: as escort, we bore her to the town and 
lodged her in a room in the main hotel of the 
place. 

We found the town agog with news of the 
first day's battle at Pittsburg Landing, and 
I knew that my general would hold himself 
ready to co-operate. I determined to join my 
command at once. Having been assured that 
Jack's wound would not prove fatal, I ar- 
ranged for the transportation of the party as 
soon as she could be moved, then gathered my 
little force in her room and announced my 
intended departure. 

"^ I must now bid farewell," I said, " to my 
little armv, every one of whom has become 
dearer to me than life." 

"Like General George Washington," said 
Buck, "sayin' farewell to his ossifers. There 
is a picture of it in my American school his- 
tory." 

" Good-bye, Buck ; remember to get a book 
and pencil and break yourself of the habit of 
saying bad words." 

" I will, by thunder !" 

" Good-bye, little girl," I said to Jack, bend- 
ing down and kissing her on the forehead. 



234 SWEET REVENGE 

" Where 3^0' going ?" 

" I ? Oh, Tm going away." 

Helen's eves were gleaming. " Where are 
you going ?" she asked, repeating Jack's ques- 
tion, though in a different tone. 

I had managed to keep my connection with 
the Union Army thus far a secret. Now I 
knew there was no need to keep it longer. 

" To the Federal Army, where I belong." 

The mute agony on Helen's face told what 
my disclosure had cost her. Extending my 
arms, I cried one word : " Sweetheart !" 

"Renegade!" she hissed. 

" Helen — dear lov^e — hear me." 

She turned her back upon me and swept 
out of the roora^ 

" / like yo', ef 3^0' are a Yankee," Jack 
cried after me. 

I left the hotel, my brain in a tumult. 
Coming up the road was a little knot of 
troopers surrounding the guerrillas whom 
they had run down and captured. A few 
hours ago I would have cried out with de- 
light. Now they were no more to me than if 
I saw them in a dream. 



XXII 
HUNTING BIG GAME 

It was the morning of the 11th of April, 
1862. I was nearing the spot I occupied at 
the opening of my story, where the bush- 
whacker had sought to kill me ; though then 
I was alone, while now I was with an ad- 
vancing army. Five hundred cavalry, a di- 
vision of infantr}', and several batteries of 
artillerv were hurrying down the road tow- 
ards the beautiful city of Huntsville, hnng, 
tranquil and unsuspecting, a few miles below. 
The upper edge of the sun was peering above 
the horizon, gilding the crest of the foot-hills 
of the plateau on tiie east, the tree-tops, and 
the roofs of the neighboring houses. The 
flowers, which a fortnight before were open- 
ing, were now in full bloom. They looked 
innocently from the gardens beside the road ; 
they leaned lovingly against the pillars of the 
verandas ; from vines trailing over casements 



226 SWEET KEVENGE 

they smiled at the rising sun; while the 
breath of morning was laden with their per- 
fume. 

It was the general's purpose to surprise the 
cit}^, capture the railroad machine-shops and 
the rolling-stock concentrated there, then make 
up trains laden with troops, seize a hundred 
miles of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad 
on either hand, thus opening communication 
with the army at Pittsburg Landing on the 
west, and paving the w^ay for future operations 
in East Tennessee on the east. The enemy 
must not be given time to move troops to pro- 
tect the city, for even should we defeat them, 
they would destroy the shops, and run off the 
rolling-stock. All depended on celerity and 
secrecy. 

The evening before we had bivouacked ten 
miles north of the city. Our scouts permitted 
no one to go south of us, enfolding all they 
met, in order that no news of our approach 
could reach the place we hoped to surprise. 
Two hours before dawn the command was 
aroused — not by the life or the bugle, but 
by whispering officers — and the march was 
resumed with no sound save the tread of 
men and horses and the rumble of artillery. 



HUNTING BIG GAME 327 

Within a fe^Y miles of the city detachments 
of mounted men, armed with telegraph -cut- 
ting and track-tearing implements, dashed to 
the left and to the right, to prevent the enemy 
from sending for troops or running off the 
rolling-stock. To another detachment which 
rode among the advance columns was assigned 
the duty of seizing the telegraph-office. 

Boom ! 

Hark! a gun! It comes from the eastward, 
not half a mile distant, where the railroad runs 
parallel with the pike. Artillery is driving 
back a locomotive. The iron monster shrieks 
like some wild beast that has met its death- 
wound. 

Boom ! 

More whistles all along the track, far down 
to the south, varying in distinctness from a 
near, loud cry to a distant, faint moan. This is 
fine hunting — stalking locomotives with can- 
non. Did any South African sportsman ever 
strike such game, or hunt with such guns ? 

Boom ! boom ! boom ! Far and near the 
shotted guns speak — far and near the metal 
monsters cry out in terror. 

Boom ! 

All are bagged, except one more daring than 



238 SWEET REVENGE 

the rest, which runs the gantlet of artillery, 
and with a round shot flying through its cab 
speeds out of range. 

Meanwhile sashes in the houses along the 
road are being raised, shutters flung open, and 
heads put out to learn the cause of the com- 
motion. As guns boom, whistles shriek, and 
cavalry clatter along the road, followed by 
men rapidly marching and artillery horses 
briskly dragging the guns, many a citizen, Avho 
the night before had gone to sleep not dream- 
ing of a foe, looks upon the passing armed 
throng, listens to the sound of the cannon 
and the shrieks of the engines, and wonders if 
pandemonium has come. 

I am drawing near the Stanforths'. There 
is the house, with its broad verandas and its 
peak roof. A knot of people are at the front 
gate, but I am yet too far to see who they 
are. Now I can distinguish the turbaned Lib. 
There is a boy perched on one of the gate- 
posts. It is Buck. That girl, tall and slender, 
is surely Helen. As I draw nearer I can see 
Gino^er, his broad mouth stretched in a crin of 
pleasure at sight of Yankee troops. A figure is 
sitting in a wicker chair on the veranda — dark 
eyes flashing in a pale face. It is Jaqueline. 



HUNTING BIG GAME 229 

Riding np to the gate, I am out of my sad- 
dle almost before my horse has stopped. Buck 
gives a cry, and jumps into my arms. Ginger 
grasps m}'' hand. 

"By jingo! Mr. Brandystone," cried Buck, 
" I'm mighty glad to see you. Since I got 
back after fightin' g'rillas like — ■" 

"Mars', 't's good fo' de e^^es t' see yo\" in- 
terrupted Ginger, enthusiastically. 

"After fio-btin' (j'rillas like a man — " 

" What ! Mr. Branderstane, and in the uni- 
form of a Federal officer !" 

It was Mr. Stanforth. He looked at me 
surprised — tlien put out his hand. But I al- 
ways suspected the old man to be at heart a 
Unionist. 

Buck kept on. " After fightin' g'rillas like 
a man, I come back^" 

" Upon my word !'' 

Another of the family was expressing sur- 
prise to see a former guest with the Union 
troops. Mrs. Stanforth looked pained, but she 
had nursed me when I was suffering, and her 
motherly feelings got the better of her preju- 
dices. I took her hand, and she did not with- 
draw it. 

" I say, Mr. Brandystone," Buck now fairly 



330 SWEET REVENGE 

shouted, " after fightin' g'rillas like a man, I 
come back liyar to be follered roun' by that 
dogTOne old Lib !" 

It was out at last, and the boy looked re- 
lieved. I broke away, and, advancing towards 
Helen, put out my hand. 

She turned away from me with contempt. 

Fortunately at that moment I espied little 
Ethel looking at me wistfully, and, taking 
her up, hid my face and my anguish in her 
tresses. Then looking up I saw that Jack was 
waiting for me, and, going upon the veranda, I 
took both her hands in mine. 

" Yo're the only Yankee in the world I want 
to see," she said, enthusiasticall3^ 

" Golly !" cried Buck behind me. Turning, 
I saw what had surprised him — the guerrillas 
riding by as prisoners. They had been con- 
ducted to Shelby ville by the company of cav- 
alry which had captured them, and were now 
a part of the procession of men and horses 
hurrying by. Captain Ilingold looked up at 
us with a melancholy stare. He cauo-]it sio-lit 
of Jack, and T shall remember to ni}^ dying 
day the sad look in his eyes as they rested for 
a moment upon hers. 

The advancing army moved rapidly on, and 



HUNTING BIG GAME 231 

was soon a mingled mass of guns and horses 
in the distance. The sun - touched bayonets 
and flags flashed for an instant, then were lost 
in a turn in the road. The region which had 
so suddenly been enlivened relapsed into the 
quiet of the country. 

Jaqueline begged me to go into the house. 
I declined. Mr. Stanforth added his invita- 
tion. 

" Thank you, Mr. Stanforth, but I must re- 
join my regiment at once. This is no time for 
me to be absent." 

" You shall come in long enough to drink 
one glass of wine to show that you are our 
friend." I saw that he would be not only 
hurt, but, Avith his strong Southern impulse, 
angered if I refused, and I reluctantly con- 
sented to spare a few minutes to pledge my 
former host. 

I entered the house supporting Jack, and was 
turning into the librar}", where I had passed 
my time while wounded, when Jack guided 
me into the parlor opposite. Helen left us 
and went into the library. Lib came in bear- 
ing a decanter and glasses. I drank to the 
host and the assembled company, promising 
that during the occupation by the Union forces 



233 SWEET REVENGE 

I would use m}^ influence to gain tliem every 
favor and protection. I had drained my glass 
and, setting it down, was about to go out to 
mount my horse when Helen came out of the 
library and crossed the hall, hand in hand 
with an officer in Confederate uniform. His 
forehead was bound with a handkerchief, he 
walked with difficulty, and I judged had been 
severely wounded. Jack sprang forward and 
seized the other hand. 

" Major Branderstane," said Helen, " my 
brother." 

Great God I Before me stood — m}'^ enemy! 

As at night by a flash of lightning one may 
see for an instant a landscape distinct in all 
its details, so I saw again the events of the 
night of the massacre. There were the flash- 
ing shot-guns, the soldiers coming down the 
hill, a fio-ure with garments streamino' in the 
wind running to me for protection. And now 
before me stood the man with the smoking 
pistol. Involuntarily I put my hand to my re- 
volver. 

" I am your prisoner, sir," he said, quickly ; 
" you do not need your weapon." 

Helen's eyes flashed. " Would 3'ou shpot an 
unarmed man f ' 



HUNTING BIG GAME 233 

Jack, mute with terror, staggered to the 
gray clad figure and clung to it, her expres- 
sive eyes bent on me, a mingled flame of re- 
proach and wrath. 

M}^ hand rested on ray holster. I moved 
not — spoke not — but stood staring at the group 
that stared at me. This man, whom I had 
been hunting to kill, whom Helen had stimu- 
lated me to pursue, against whom she had 
even voluntarily pledged herself to aid me in 
my revenge, had now suddeidy appeared as her 
brother, 

" I was wounded," said the officer, " at Fort 
Donaldson, and was brought here to my fa- 
ther's house. I am unable to endure the fa- 
tigue of flight, therefore I am compelled to 
surrender." 

"Captain Stanforth, I have been hunting 
for you for months." 

" Me ?" 

" You." 

" What for ?" 

A hush came over all as if about to listen to 
a sentence of death. 

" To kill you." 

There was a brief murmur among those 
looking on, then they stood breathless, wait- 



234 SWEET liEVENGE 

ing for the next scene in what promised to be 
a tragedy. Only Helen knew what my words 
meant. I saw a spasmodic quiver pass over 
her as I had seen death touch a comrade who 
had been shot in battle. Then, gathering her 
forces, she stood still, her face denoting the 
smothered fires of a volcano. 

" May I ask, sir," said the officer, pale but 
calm, " why you desire m}^ death ?" 

" The wrong, the brutal wrong you did." 

I know not wh}^ some demon of barbarism 
should have come to me at this critical moment 
when, of all others, I should have shown o-en- 
tleness and mngnanimit3\ Here was an op])or- 
tunity to make a graceful acknowledgment of 
Helen Stanforth's service and sacrifice, per- 
haps to heal the breach between us. I threw 
it away. My abandoned purpose was rekin- 
dled : I was crazed by Helen's treatment. I 
drew my revolver and brought it to bear on 
my unarmed enemy. 

"Coward!" cried Helen. 

I turned to her scornfully. " Who bade me 
pursue this man to the bitter end V 

U T •>■> 

" AVho promised to aid me V 

U T 55 



HUNTING BIG GAME 235 

" Who now begs for her brother's life at the 
hands of a Southern renegade?'^ 

" I ? Never." She sprang l)etween me and 
her brother — " Fire !" 

She stood glaring at me, beautiful in her 
uncompromising fury. I Avas bewildered, en- 
tangled in the meshes of her beauty, her re- 
lentless will power. Then suddenly a cold 
chill swept over me, as a blighting frost across 
a land hot Avith the rays of a tropical sun. I 
stood aghast at what I had done. I had re- 
turned her inestimable service by a miserable 
attempt to force her to beg for her brother's 
life. I had lost what hope I had cherished of 
a reconciliation — of winning her. I threw m}^ 
weapon into a corner and was striding from 
the room, when Captain Stanforth, freeing 
himself from Jack, cried : 

"In the name of God, what does all this 
mean ?" 

" It means. Captain Stanforth," I said, turn- 
ing, "that on a certain night in East Tennes- 
see a party of Unionists on their way north 
were ambushed by citizens with shot-guns. A 
body of Confederate cavalry came down to 
their assistance. You, Captain — " 

"It is false. I led my company to the 



236 SWEET REVENGE 

scene you mention — not to attack, but to pro- 
tect." 

It was now ni}^ turn to stand stupefied. 
Had I been all these months following an 
error ? 

" I came on the ground," Captain Stan- 
forth continued, "just in time to witness the 
most diabolical sight I ever saw in the South. 
One incident of that terrible night I shall al- 
ways remember — a murder that I punished with 
my own hand. I saw a woman fl3'ing for protec- 
tion to a man who stood near her. A cowardly 
cur beside me fired, and she fell through her 
protectors arms. I drew my revolver and 
shot the murderer dead." 

" You shot the murderer ?" 

I had no tongue for other words. This man, 
dear to Helen, dear to Jack, dear to all this 
household, was not only innocent of the crime 
I had imputed to him, but was my avenger. I 
took one step forward and seized his hand. 

" Thank God !" 

"You have been mistaken?" 

" So far mistaken that had it not been for 
these two women I would have shot you down 
where you stand." 

I strode to the door, rushed down the path 



HUNTING BIG GAME 237 

to the gate, mounted my horse, and, Avithout 
once looking- back at the gaping crowd behind 
me, galloped down the road after the advanc- 
ing army. 



XXIII 
THE UNION SAVED 

I CAUGHT the troops just as they were enter- 
ing the city. All that we could have wished 
for was accomplished. The whole territory- 
was surprised and defenceless, and a hundred 
miles of railroad fell into our hands. Machine- 
shops, rolling- -stock in abundance, telegraph, 
and all other paraphernalia for operating the 
line were among the trophies, and on the morn- 
ing after the capture the men who had been 
employed under the direction of the Confeder- 
ate government went to work for the United 
States. 

And now followed a rest for three months, 
a longer stay in one place than any I experi- 
enced during the w^ar. It would have been the 
most delightful had it not been for my es- 
trano-ement from Helen Stanforth. Thoufjh 
I was welcome at her father's house, though 
the family apparently became attached to me, 



THE UNION SAVED 239 

thouoh Jack and Buck loved me as I loved 
them, Helen remained obdurate. In vain I 
sought to soften her by those attentions with 
which men seek to entrap a woman's heart. 
She would not even treat me with indifference. 
I was to her a renegade to the South, an un- 
pardonable offender. 

I reported the case of Captain Stanforth to 
the general, and secured from him a parole, 
which enabled him to divide his time between 
his father's house and the Rutland plantation 
with his fiancee Jaqueline, who soon nursed 
him back to health. Captain Beaumont was 
brought to Huntsviile under guard, and I 
interested myself in securing for him an early 
exchange, which, after hearing of Jack's en- 
gagement, he was extremely anxious to obtain. 
He was passed through the lines to Chatta- 
nooga, vowino^ that he would give his life to 
the Confederacy if he could find a Yankee 
bullet to assist him. He was too manly and 
chivalrous to cast the slightest blame on Jack 
for his disappointment. 

One morning I took my friends from Mr. 
Stanforth's — excepting Helen — into head- 
quarters and introduced them to the general. 
He was aware of our coming, and had directed 



240 SWEET REVENGE 

that the outlaws should be brought before him 
at the same time. 

" Are these the men ?" he asked. 

" Yes, general," I replied. 

To the officer of the guard, he said, " Take 
them away. I clonH wish to see any more of 
iJiemr 

Jaqueline, who had heard these words once 
before when the}'' were applied to me, and 
consequently knew what they meant, turned 
pale. She begged the general to spare them. 
He shook his head. 

" Impossible. They are the crowning bar- 
barity of war." 

" But, general, that one," pointing to Cap- 
tain Ringold — "he helped us." 

" Ah ! I had forgotten that." Then turn- 
ing to Ringold : 

" If set at liberty, how long will you require 
to get out of my lines V 

" I will go at once." 

" Go ; and if you are seen about here after 
'tattoo' this evening you will follow your 
men." 

The reprieved man sprang towards Jaque- 
line, seized her hand, and kissed it. " From 
this moment I am a changed man," he said to 



THE UNION SAVED 241 

her, "and your bright eyes and kind heart 
have done it." In another moment he was 
gone. 

Captain Stanforth was soon exchanged, and 
before leaving to join his regiment was united 
to Jaqueline. The wedding took pkice at the 
Rutland plantation. The groom did me the 
honor to request me to act as his best man, 
Jaqueline doubtless having influenced his 
choice. I gladly accepted, lioping that, since 
Helen Avas to serve as first bridesmaid, our 
being thrown together might heal the breach 
between us. Ten minutes before -the cere- 
mony Jaqueline was strumming Ginger s ban- 
jo, and ten minutes after she had become a 
bride was standing on the rear gallery tossing 
presents to a crowd of blaclc people below, 
whose upturned faces indicated the adoration 
in which they held their 3'oung mistress. 

I was disappointed in my hope that the 
festivities would thaw the obdurate heart of 
the woman I loved. She remained cold, even 
when her hand was laid on my arm before and 
after the ceremony. Later, finding her apart 
from the others, I approached her. 

" Have you not one kind word for me ?" I 

asked. 

If) 



242 SWEET kp:venge 

" Not one. I can respect a Northern sol- 
dier, not a Southern man who wears the 
blue." 

" Be it as you wish." 

Mounting my horse, I rode back to camp 
with a heavy heart. 

The advantages gained by our force at Shi- 
loh, and our own bloodless conquest of North- 
ern Alabama, were not vigorously followed up. 
The enemy withdrew to Tupelo, Mississippi, 
where he formed a new arm}^ which, early in 
the fall, marched, under the Confederate gen- 
eral Bragg, through Chattanooga into Ken- 
tucky. 

One morning in September orders came 
for us to break camp and march northward. 
Bragg was advancing, marching on Cincinnati 
or Louisville, thus compelling the abandonment 
of the territory we had acquired in the spring, 
and requiring us to hasten to the protection of 
the threatened cities. After making my prep- 
arations for the mov^e I left the command, in- 
tending to join it on the march, and rode over 
to the Stanforths' to take my leave. Jackson 
announced me, and I sat down in the little 
library I had occupied three months before, 
while my wound was healing, to await the ap- 



THE UNION SAVED 243 

pearance of my friends. I was startled by the 
voice of Buck coming from above : 

"Lib, doggone 't, whar's my swearen' book? 
I've lost that 'swearen' book' what Major 
Brandystone tole me to git." 

A few minutes later he came into the room. 
As he caught sight of me his face became 
radiant, and, jumping into my arms, he hugged 
me like a young bear. Tlie others soon entered. 
Mr. Stanforth, who by this time had openly 
avowed his affection for the Union, parted from 
me witli regret, not unmixed with apprehension 
lest upon the return of the Confederates he 
might suffer for his attentions to our troops. 
Mrs. Stanforth bade me adieu with motherly 
affection. Little Ethel put her arms about ray 
neck and wondered. Buck, for the moment, 
in his affection for me, forgot that he was a 
Confederate sympathizer, and insisted on go- 
ing with me. Helen stood aloof, and at the 
last moment seemed more bitter than ever. 
There was a flush upon her cheek and a bright 
spark in her e3'es. 

" Good-bye," I said, putting out my hand to 
her. 

" Never to an enemy," she replied, turning 
awav. 



244 SWEET EEVENGE 

There was a murmur of disa}3probation at 
lier act, but I did not listen to it. Turning on 
my heel, I left the room and the house, and in 
another moment was galloping away. 

My regiment was moving on a road leading 
northward and to the east of the main pike, 
so I was obliged to ride across country to re- 
join. Large armies necessarily move slowly, 
and although in this instance we had entered 
upon forced marches I knew that I had plen- 
ty of time. I was riding leisurely through a 
lonely road when I heard the sound of horse's 
hoofs behind me. I had become so used to be- 
ing hunted by my old enemies that I instinc- 
tively drew rein and my revolver at the same 
time, and, facing about, awaited the coming of 
friend or foe. My pursuer turned a bend in 
the road but a short distance from me and 
suddenly came in sight. 

" Helen Stanforth ! What in the Avorld 
brings you here ?" 

She drew rein and sat with flushed cheeks, 
her eyes looking anywhere except on me. 
Tier horse was restive, the two making a pict- 
ure by no means quiescent. 

" I am not satisfied." 

"With what?" 



THE UNION SAVED 245 

" The manner of your leaving the country." 

"Do I take with me what does not belono- 
to me ?" 

" You are going with our enemies." 

I was puzzled. She knew that I was a 
Union officer, and that my duty lay with the 
departing array. Besides, to remain in the 
country after its reoccupation by Confeder- 
ate troops would be as much as my life was 
worth. I was more than puzzled, I was irri- 
tated, smarting as I was under her recent 
treatment. 

'• This is not what dissatisfies you," I said. 

" I spent my time rescuing a renegade." 

" I see no occasion for you to come after 
me to hurl that taunt anew. "We parted half 
an hour ago, I supposed never to meet again. 
Now you must needs — " 

"Were you not in the Yankee service our 
parting need not be — " 

She paused and bit her lip. 

I had often noticed a great show of picket- 
firing on the part of an enemy just before 
abandoning his lines. Somehow the thought 
gave me an inkling of what was passing in 
Helen's mind. I rode up close beside her, and 
laying my hand on her horse's neck stroked it 



246 SWEET KEVENGE 

for a moment till I had quieted him. Mean- 
while my eyes were fixed on Helen's, that 
were glancing about wildly, as if endeavoring 
to find some means of retreat. Bending for- 
ward, without a word, I put my arms about 
her and drew her to me. Her head sank 
slowly, at last resting on the embroidered 
leaves that denoted my rank. 

" Sweetheart, I love you, and I believe you 
love me." 

There was silence, save for the running 
water of the creek and the chattering of the 
birds in the trees beside the road. The touch- 
ing of our lips, her heart beating against mine, 
stray strands of her hair falling over my 
wrist, the moisture in her eyes, bring a new 
warmth to my heart even to-day. At last she 
suddenly disengaged herself and, as though 
ashamed of her snrrender, turned her horse to 
move away. I caught her and held her long 
enough for one more embrace, one long part- 
ing kiss ; then I let her go. As she galloped 
down the road I called after her : 

"You forgive me for threatening your 
brother — for trying to compel you to beg for 
his lifer 

"No." 



THE UNION SAVED 247 

" I'll come when the Union is saved." 
" When the Confederacy is acknowledged," 
and she shot around the bend out of sight. 

"I believe," I mused, as I rode on, " there is 
no inconsistency, no incongruity, that does not 
enter into the composition of woman." 

"We met again a 3'ear later, shortly before 
the battle of Chickamauofa, and aofain when 
Hood was marching against Thomas at Xash- 
ville, but it was not till after the surrender at 
Appomattox that she consented to a union that 
was to be simultaneous with the reunion of 
the States. 

One important fact has always remained a 
secret between me and my wife. 1 have never 
ventured to confess to her that during the war 
I performed one act of secret service. In over- 
hauling my papers she one day came upon a 
document gotten up in red and black ink in 
the form common in the army. 

" What's all this about T she asked. '' ' Gal- 
lant and meritorious services in the capture of 
Huntsville, Decatur, and Stephenson Junction.' 
I thought that when the Yankees surprised 
Huntsville you were at our house." 

"That?" I said, taking the paper and pre- 



248 SWEET REVENGE 

tending to scrutinize it — "oh, that was for 
capturing a rebel." 

" What rebel ?" 

I hesitated, then prevaricated. " Don't you 
remember the scene in which your brother 
bore an important part V 

"Do you mean to call drawing your pistol 
on an unarmed man a gallant and meritorious 
act ?" 

"Oh, they complimented everybod\^ for ev- 
erything during the war. But I deserved the 
encomium, for I captured another rebel more 
rebellious than your brother " 

"Who was that?" 

I put my arras about her and kissed her. 

"My sweetheart." 



THE END 



By captain CHAKLES KING. 



CAMPAIGNING WITH CEOOK, AND STORIES OF 
ARMY LIFE. Post 8vo, Clotb, $1 25. 

A WAR-TIME WOOING. Illustrated by R. F. Zogbaum. 

Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 00. 

BETWEEN THE LINES. A Story of the War. Illus- 
trated by Gilbert Gaul. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 25. 

CADET DAYS. A Story of West Point. Illustrated. 
Post Bvo, Cloth, Oruamental, $1 25. 

Captain King's stories of army life are so brilliant and in- 
tense, they have such a ring of true experience, and liis cliarac- 
ters are so lifelike and vivid that the announcement of a new 
one is ahvays received with pleasure. — Keio Haven Palladium. 

In all of Captain King's stories the author holds to lofty ideals 
of manhood and womanhood, and inculcates the lessons of honor, 
generosity, courage, and self-control. — Literary World, Boston. 

A romance by Captain King is always a pleasure, because he 
has so complete a mastery of the subjects with which he deals. 
. . . Captain King has few livals in his domain. — Epoch, N. Y. 

All Captain King's stories are full of spirit and with the true 
ring about them. — Fhiladelphia Item. 

In the delineation of war scenes Captain King's style is crisp 
and vigorous, inspiring in the breast of the reader a thrill of 
genuine patriotic fervor. — Boston Comijionwealth. 

Captain Khig is almost without a rival in the field he has 
chosen. . . . His style is at once vigorous and sentimental in 
the best sense of that word, so that his novels are pleasing to 
young men as well as young women. — Pittsburgh Bulletin. 

It is good to think that there is at least one man who believes 
that all the spirit of lomance and chivalry has not yet died out 
of the world, and that there are as brave and honest hearts to- 
day as there were in the days of knights and paladins. — Phila- 
delphia Record. 

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York. 

^W° 1'l^e abnve loorks nrn for sale hi/ all booksellers, nr vill he sent hy 
the pitblisbers, postage prepaid, to an;/ part of the United States, 
Canada, or Mexico, on receipt of the price. 



By ELIZABETH B. CUSTER 



Following the Guidon. Illustrated. Post 8vo, Cloth, 

Ornamental, §1 50. 

The story is a thrillingly interesting one, charmingly told. . . . 
Mrs. Custer gives slvetches photographic in their fidelity to 
fact, and touches them with tlie brush of the true artist just 
enough to give them coloring. It is a charming volume, and 
the reader who begins it will hardly lay it down until it is fin- 
ished. — BoxionTraveUer. 

An admirable book. Mrs. Custer was almost as good a 
soldier as her gallant husband, and her book bieathes the true 
martial spirit. — St. Louis Republic. 

Boots and Saddles ; or, Life in Dakota with General 

Custer. With Portrait of General Custer. 12mo, 

Cloth, Ornamental, $1 50. 

A book of adventure is interesting reading, especially when 
it is all true, as is the case with "Boots and Saddles." . . . Mrs. 
Custer does not obtrude the fact that sunshine and solace went 
with her to tent and fort, but it inheres in her narrative none 
the less, and as a consequence " these simple annals of our 
daily life," as she calls them, are never dull nor uninteresting. 
— Evangelist, N. Y. 

No better or more satisfactory life of General Custer could 
have been written. . . . We know of no biographical work 
anywhere which we count better than this. — .V. Y. Commercial 
Advertiser. 

Tenting on the Plains; or. General Custer in Kansas 
and Texas. Illustrated. Post 8vo, Cloth, $1 50. 
Mrs. Custer was a keen observer. . . . The narrative abounds 
ill vivid description, in exciting incident, and gives us a real- 
istic picture of adventurous frontier life. This new edition will 
be welcomed. — Boston Advertiser. 



Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York 

j8®" The above irorlcs are for sale hij all booksellem. or will be sent by 
the publisUers, postage prepaid, on receipt of tlie price. 



Br THOMAS HARDY 



Hardy has an exquisite vein of humor. His style is so hicid 
that the outlines of a character in one of his books are unmis- 
takable from first to last. He has a reserve force, so to speak, 
of imagination, of invention, which keeps the interest undim- 
inished always, though the personages in the drama may be 
few and their adventures unremarkable. But most of all he 
lias shown the pity and the beauty of human life, most of all 
lie has enlarged the boundaries of sympathy and chaiitv. — 
iV. Y. Tribune. 



UXIFORM 
The Well Beloved. 

JuDE THE Obscure. Illus- 
iviitecl. 

Under the Greenwood- 
Tree. 

Wessex Tales. 

Desperate Rejiediks. 

A Laodicean. 

The Hand op Ethelberta. 

The Woodlandeus. 



EDITION : 

The Trumpet-]Major. 

Far from the ]Madding 

Crowd. 
The jMayor of Casteu- 

BRIDGE. 

A Pair of Blue Eyes. 

Two on a Tower. 

Return of the Nath^e. 

Tess op the D'Urber- 
villes. Illustrated. 



Crown 8vo, Cloth, $1 50 each. 



Life's Little Ironies. A Set of Tales ; with some 
Colloquial Sketches eulitled A Few Crusted Characters. 
Post 8vo, Cloth, Oruamenlal, f 1 25. 

A Group op Noble Dames. Illustrated. 12mo, Cloth, 
Oruameutal, $1 25 ; Post 8vo, Paper, 75 cents. 

The Woodl.\nders. 16mo, Cloth, 75 cents. 

Fellow-Townsmen. 32mo, Paper, 20 cents. 



ruBLisHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, New York. 

Tlie above vnrhs are for sale hi/ all boolcselUrs. or will he sent hy the, 
publishers, postage prepaid, on receipt of the price. 



By GEORGE DU MAURIER 



ENGLISH SOCIETY. Sketched by George dd 
Maurier. About 100 Illustrations. With sm Intro- 
ductiou by W. D. Howells. Oblong 4lo, Cloth, 
Ornameutiil, $3 50. 
A volume which it will always be a deli2;lit to have in the 
house. In it a searching observer of many phases of human- 
ity, cliarniing in its wit and without the blemish of malice, 
presents with his pencil as much of his social philosophy as 
lie could give with his pen in a hundred novels. — N. Y. Snn. 
As to tiie drawings, what can we say in piaise of them that 
has not l)een said time and again ? The humor, tlic s^atire, so 
effective notwitlistanding tlie bght touch, are all iiere, as they 
are in everything that l)ii Maurier drew. — Criiic, N. Y. 

TRILBY. A Novel. Illustrated by the Author. Post 

8vo, Cloth, Ornamental, $1 75 ; Three-quarter Calf, 

$3 50 ; Three-quarter Crushed Levant, $4 50. 

Mr. Du Maurier has written his tale with such origitialily, 

uuconventionalitv, and eloquence, such rollicking humor and 

tender pathos, and delightful play of every lively fancy, all 

running so briskly in exquisite English, and with such vivid 

<lramatic pictin'ing, that it is only comparable ... to the 

freshness and beauty of a spring morning at the end of a 

dragging winter. ... A thoroughly unique story. — JV. Y. Sun. 

PETER IBBETSON. With an Introduction by his 

Cousin, Lady " * * * ("Madge Plunket"). Edited 

and Illustrated by George du Maurier. Post 8vo, 

Clolh, Ornamental, $1 50; Three-qiuirter Calf, $3 25; 

Three-quarter Crushed Levant, $4 25. 

There are so many beauties, so many singularities, so much 

that is fresh and original, in Mr. Du Maurier's story that it is 

difficult to treat it at all adequately from the point of view of 

criticism. That it is one of the most remarkable books that 

have appeared for a long time is, however, indisputable. — 

N. Y. Tribune. 

Published by HARPER & BROTHERS, New York. 

J8@= T/ie above works are for sale b)/ all booksellers, or will be mailfd by 
the publishers, postage prepaid, on receipt of the price. 



RARE BOOK 
COLLECTION 




THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

AT 

CHAPEL HILL 



Wilmer 
795 



1*4 1